by PuckStopsHere on 11/05/09 at 02:08 PM ET
There is an incredible offensive performance underway in the AHL. Alexandre Giroux of the Hershey Bears (the Washington Capitals affiliate) is tied for the league lead in scoring with 17 points. He is tied with Corey Locke of the Hartford Wolf Pack (the New York Rangers affiliate). Giroux’s performance so far is impressive because he has done it in only eight games played. He has scored more than two points per game in the AHL so far this season. By comparison, Locke has 12 games played. Giroux was called up to the NHL for a short time. He played three games with the Washington Capitals scoring a goal. This has limited his AHL games played.
Giroux is no stranger to being an AHL top scorer. Last year he won the John B Sollenberger Trophy as the top scorer in the league as well as the Les Cunningham Award for MVP. Giroux is an AHL superstar and he appears to be getting even better as time passes. So why is he not an NHLer?
In 25 NHL games over the last four seasons, Giroux has scored seven points. This is a respectable, but not spectacular achievement. It looks a little better when you consider that he has not been given much playing time. Giroux averaged slightly over seven minutes per game of playing time during his most recent NHL stint. Giroux has never been given much of an NHL shot.
He was a seventh round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators in 1999 and has largely bounced around the AHL since then. At age 24, in the 2005/06 season he played his first NHL game with the New York Rangers. He signed as a free agent in Washington the next summer and has been their property ever since. Now that Giroux is 28 years old, he is no longer regarded as a prospect. He is seen as a short term injury replacement when needed. Would he fail if given a serious NHL shot?
Giroux is not a small man at 6’3”, but at 190 lbs he is quite thin. He is not a physical player per se, but has the AHL seasons with more than 100 PIMs. He is not lost in physical play either. In the AHL he is an offensive star and is rarely used in serious defensive situations (why waste your offensive star by making him play a checking role?), but he is not seen as defensively weak. He is a sniper coming off a 60 goal season. He is the AHL version of Alexander Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby. He is worth a serious NHL shot. He is worth an NHL shot where he plays a regular shift with good linemates. He definitely looks good enough to handle it. He looks too good for the AHL. Will Washington give him that shot this season?
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