Francois Bouchard(61) Cincinnati Cyclones

5th year Washington Capitals‘ 2nd round pick in the 2006 draft (#35 overall), center Francois Bouchard(27) found himself at the start of the season without a contract in what’s maybe been a bit of a tricky year for more than a few players to get work playing pro hockey.

After his initial 3-year entry level deal was up, he signed on for one more campaign in the Capitals‘ prospect system but was bounced from his time with Hershey Bears (where he won back-to-back Calder Cups in 2009 & 2010) to New York RangersAHL affiliate Connecticut Whale and uneventfully finished out the term of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.

For the first time in his career he signs a minor league deal to play in the ECHL with Cincinnati Cyclones for 2012/2013.

It just maybe a smart move as he needs to reenergize that scoring touch he showed in his second year, when he popped in 21 and assisted on another 31 in 74 games played and was a crazy good +21 plus/minus.

If he starts to ignite and the NHL unfreezes the lockout, expect him to move back up the ladder.

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