Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Giroux and Aucoin clear waivers

Both Alexandre Giroux and Keith Aucoin cleared waivers and have reported to Hershey. Surely both are disappointed in being in Hershey but both should know they are on the top of the Caps list for call ups.

Unfortunately for them they are part of an organization that is very deep at the forward position. Aucoin could end up in Washington IF the Caps are able to move Michal Nylander and his huge salary. Giroux will surely be the top call up IF a scoring line winger goes down with injury.

For all of you out there that question why Giroux is still in the AHL it is this simple...he is a scorer. But he isn't the fastest or best skater on the ice meaning he is unlikely to score as much on the top line. So the question for most teams is can he play on the penalty kill (probably not) or does he offer another type of play, physical or defensive, and he doesn't.

But you know who does....Chris Bourque. Bourque and Giroux play the same position, left wing, and while Giroux will surely score more goals he doesn't offer the other benefits. Bourque can score too when given the chance but if he doesn't score he can still kill penalties and plays very well in his own end.

Giroux is one of the best pure goal scorers in the game today. But his game is limited beyond that. I do think he could play in the NHL on a 2nd line but he needs to improve his consistency on that level first.

Hershey also sent 3 players to South Carolina today. Jake Hauswirth, Dylan Yeo, and Michael Dubuc will start the season in the ECHL. Dubuc was hurt by the Giroux reassignment as they are similar players. Without Giroux I think Dubuc would have gotten a chance on the first or second line in Hershey BUT he isn't a great defensive player so his value is low as a 3rd or 4th line guy.

Yeo was hoping to make the jump from ECHL to AHL this season after playing most of the season in the ECHL last year but with Alzner and Carlson both starting the season in Hershey it hurt his chances.

Hauswirth is a young kid who hasn't played above the USHL level. He has a bright future but needs a little seasoning.

Those cuts leave Hershey with 17 forwards (including Grant McNeill) and 9 defensemen. There is a possibility that no more cuts will be made prior to the season opener but who knows. At most I would think 2 more players could go but that would be it.

The two players most likely to leave...

Anton Gustafsson - the organization has to decide whether playing 3rd line minutes (or sitting some games) here in the AHL or returning to play in Sweden every night in a different style would be more beneficial. The biggest complaint about his play this fall has been his tepid play which is the European influence. So maybe allowing him to stay would get him ready for next year.

Patrick Wellar - he played very well for the Bears last season in the games he played but does it really make sense to keep 3 extra defensemen? With Alzner and Carlson surely playing every night and guys like Collins and McNeill who have really improved I don't think a player like Wellar will see much time.

There are obviously other players that should be concerned about their status but those 2 are probably the most nervous heading into Saturday.

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