by PuckStopsHere on 12/05/11 at 04:01 PM ET
About a week ago I reported that Keith Aucoin had moved into the AHL scoring lead. At that time he only had a one point lead over TJ Hensick of the Peoria Rivermen (St Louis affiliate). He now has a four point lead over teammate Chris Bourque of the Hershey Bears (Washington affiliate) and a five point lead over Hensick. He has an 11 point lead over anyone else.
Aucoin has six goals and 30 assists for 36 points. He is used to being one of the top scorers in the AHL. He first played in the AHL in the 2001/02 season. It was 2005/06 before he had his first point per game AHL season. He finished tenth in league scoring with 85 points. The following season he finished second in league scoring with 99 points.
2007/08 was the year he was given the chance to play at the NHL level. He played 38 games with the Carolina Hurricanes and 38 more at the AHL level with 45 points scored. Had Aucoin scored at that rate over the whole AHL season, he would have been the second highest scorer at the AHL level. In 2008/09 he finished second in AHL scoring for the second time. He finished one point back of the scoring title. In 2009/10, he finally won an AHL scoring title. Aucoin had 106 points and won the race by three points. That earned Aucoin another NHL shot in 2010/11. This time was with the Washington Capitals. Aucoin was a frequent healthy scratch who scored five points in nine NHL games. He was limited to only 53 games in the AHL as a result of his NHL run. He scored 72 points in those games, which gave him a better point per game than those players ahead of him in the scoring race. It placed him eighth in the league scoring race.
Aucoin has been the best, most consistent scorer in the AHL for over half a decade. That is remarkable for the AHL. Few players can have that level of prolonged success because they will be given NHL shots. Aucoin is a small player at 5’9” and 187 pounds. He is not the strongest defensive player. Conventional wisdom says that a player like him has to be on the top two lines to contribute at the NHL level. Despite the fact an offensive player could contribute as a role player, coaches would rather have “safer” defensive players in their depth positions. Longterm AHL stars are typically smaller offensive players who do not play strong defensive games.
Keith Aucoin is 33 years old and has missed his chance to play a significant NHL career. He has had a Hall of Fame AHL career and he continues to be a star at that level. He is the scoring leader at this point in the season and is increasing his lead over the field over the past week.
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