Oilers sign AHL scoring star

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:14 AM ET

Alexandre Giroux is looking for an honest opportunity.

And considering the way he has lit up the American Hockey League over the past few years, it’s surprising the native of Quebec City hasn’t been given a chance to this point.

Giroux hopes things will be different next season with the Edmonton Oilers, having signed a one-year free agent contract worth $500,000.

“It’s awesome to be coming to Edmonton,” Giroux said.

“I was looking for a team that would give me a real chance.

“I was really excited when I got that call, and am looking forward to getting a chance to show them what I can do.”

Selected in the seventh round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators, Giroux has never been able to make a mark at the NHL level, despite his scoring exploits elsewhere.

Goal scorer

A former 50-goal scorer in junior, Giroux, 29, has reached the 30-goal plateau on five occasions, he has scored at least 50 goals twice, and netted 60 goals two seasons ago in the American Hockey League.

Last year Giroux scored 50 goals and added 53 assists in 69 regular-season games with the Hershey Bears.

The six-foot-three, 190-pound centre then added 14 goals in the playoffs as the Bears went on to win the Calder Cup championship.

Despite his success, Giroux was called up for just nine games with the Washington Capitals, scoring a goal and adding two assists.

So much talent

“That team in Washington had so much talent offensively, that it was really too tough to get anywhere near the top two lines,” he said.

“But it was still a surprise that I didn’t get a shot when I was doing so well with the farm team.

“That’s why this summer I wanted to go somewhere different and look at another direction.

“I was looking for a team that could use a bit more of a scoring touch and I think I might have found that team in the Oilers.”

As proficient as Giroux’s season was last year, the previous campaign was even better, as he netted 60 goals and added 37 assists in 69 games with the Bears.

He broke Brett Hull’s AHL record for scoring in consecutive games, with at least a goal in 15 straight contests on his way to being named the AHL MVP that season.

Yet the Capitals still only called him up for 12 games, where he had a goal and an assist.

“That’s one of the reasons I didn’t go back to Washington this year,” Giroux said.

“I had a couple of other offers around the league as well.

“But, I was looking for a team that was going to give me a good look at training camp.

I’ve been looking at that for a couple of years now, and I think Edmonton was the best fit for me to get that opportunity.”

If Giroux can transfer even a portion of his AHL scoring exploits to the next level, he’ll be an asset for the Oilers.

They will be counting on a lot of young, inexperienced players for offence next season.

Talented kids

Giroux is looking forward to getting a chance to play with Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and the rest of the talented kids who are expected to crack the lineup.

“Absolutely. When I talked to the Oilers GM (Friday), he told me they were trying to make a fresh start,” Giroux said.

“They drafted a lot of good, young players and have a lot of young prospects.

“When you think about it, it’s exciting to get a chance to be part of that rebuilding process.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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