When the Connecticut Whale next take on the Columbus Blue Jacket’s top farm club in Massachusetts to face off with their 1-91 rivals the Springfield Falcons, staring at them across the red line will be two former Hartford Wolf Pack alumni.
In Giroux, the Falcons will have a strong scoring weapon and Byers adds grit in addition to a strong scoring touch in front of the net.
Both Giroux and Byers have had stints in the NHL with the Rangers, Giroux with Washington and Edmonton as well, but to this point in their careers, neither has been able to make it stick.
Here is the release from the Blue Jackets:
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed left wing Dane Byers and center Martin St. Pierre to one-year, two-way NHL-American Hockey League contracts, Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Scott Howson announced July 11. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Byers, 25, combined to record 15 goals and 31 assists for 46 points and had 161 penalty minutes in 85 AHL games with Connecticut, Springfield and San Antonio during the 2010-11 season. He led the Rampage and ranked ninth (tied) in the AHL in shorthanded goals (3), while ranking second on the club in assists, third (tied) in points and fifth (tied) in goals.
A native of Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Byers has collected 84-116-200, 682 penalty minutes and a cumulative plus/minus rating of +16 in 324 career AHL games, including a career high 25-27-52 and 100 penalty minutes in 74 games in 2009-10. He missed the majority of the 2008-09 season due to injury.
The Rangers’ fourth pick, 48th overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft, Byers made his NHL debut Feb. 5, 2008 vs. Los Angeles. He has 1-0-1 and 31 penalty minutes in six career NHL games with the Rangers. Prior to his professional career, he tallied 49-50-99 and 518 penalty minutes in 236 career games with Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League.
St. Pierre, 27, split the 2010-11 season between Salzburg (Austria), Nizhnekamsk (Kontinental Hockey League) and Karpat (Finland) combining to notch 12-16-28 and 34 penalty minutes in 46 games. He has tallied 114-291-405 and 394 penalty minutes in 367 career AHL games with Edmonton, Norfolk, Rockford, Providence and Binghamton. He had a career high 27-72-99, 100 penalty minutes and was +15 in 65 games with Norfolk in 2005-06 and has registered at least 20 goals and 65 points in four of his five AHL seasons. He was named to the AHL All-Rookie team in 2006, AHL First All-Star Team in 2007 and AHL Second All-Star Team in 2008.
A native of Embrun, Ontario, he played four seasons with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League from 2000-04. He collected 108-212-320, 277 penalty minutes and was +54 in 257 career OHL games. He set career highs in 2003-04 when he notched 45-65-110, 95 penalty minutes and was +35 in 68 games. Full and partial season ticket plans for the Blue Jackets’ 2011-12 season are on sale now starting at less than $15 per game. Plan holders receive significant savings versus single game prices, exclusive access to events with players and coaches and more. Flexible payment plan options are available. For more information, call (800) NHL-COLS or visit BlueJackets.com.