The Oilers signed 29-year old center Alexandre Giroux to a one-way contract. No term/salary details are available at this point. However, the belief in the hockey world is that Giroux is a career AHLer.
Giroux was a big part of a winning culture in Hershey. He led the AHL in goals 2 years in a row (60 in 2008/09 and 50 in 2009/10). He also led the AHL in points in 2008/09 and was second in points in 2009/10 (behind teammate Keith Aucoin). All this with only 69 games played in each of the seasons. He was also a playoff performer, leading the league in goals and points in both years, and helping take Hershey to two consecutive Calder Cup wins.
Unfortunately, this success has not translated to the NHL level. He has played a mere 31 NHL games and only managed 4 goals and 5 assists – one of those games even came under now-Oilers head coach Tom Renney (while both were with the Rangers at the time).
Why would Tambellini sign him to a one-way contract then, you ask, if he is not a good NHLer? Well, it is my belief that the Oilers are going to send him down to Oklahoma City anyways (note: one-way contracts have nothing to do with waiver eligibility… I believe he will not need to clear waivers to be sent down) and will happily pay him NHL salary to play there. He turned down a $1.3M offer from a KHL team. Having one of the best (if not the current best) AHLers on our farm would go a long way, and the Oilers have said they will be committed to making our farm team competitive.
Giroux is of the belief though, it would seem, that he play in the NHL though, however.. so this remains to be seen. This could be another reclamation project a la Ryan Stone or Ryan Potulny. So, it will remain to be seen as to where he plays this year. But for sure he will have to earn his place on the NHL roster. I’d love to see that happen though!
Best case scenario: Giroux surprises at camp and manages to fit in with the Oilers and starts his career as an NHLer.
Worst case scenario: Giroux continues to struggle at the NHL level, and is sent down to Oklahoma City, where he will likely pick up where he left off and continue his success at the AHL level. It’s a win-win for the Oilers, and a win-win for Giroux (since he’ll still earn NHL salary).