The Arizona Coyotes have acquired the rights to Dallas Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski, the teams announced Thursday. In return, the Stars are getting a 2016 5th round draft pick.
“He was the first domino to fall in what we hope are a series of coordinated moves to help our team,” general manager John Chayaka told AZ Sports’ Craig Moran. He added, in regard to why they went after Goligoski’s rights, “It’s more about the confidence in what we have to sell here with a team that’s young and poised to break out.”
Arizona has a ton of great forward prospects, but the blue line is an issue. There are strong pieces like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but overall it’s wanting. A veteran defender like Goligoski could do a lot for the development of young players and for the team’s chance of making the postseason this year.
It sounds like, in an ideal situation, Chayaka would want Goligoski on the second pairing to keep defensive pairings a leftie and a rightie up and down the depth chart.
It is unknown if Goligoski would be open to taking a deal with the Coyotes, but if he signs — and Arizona has the cap space to make a significant offer — it would remove one of the top defenders from a thin free agent market. Teams are allowed to begin negotiating with free agents on June 25, though they cannot sign them until July 1. Acquiring Goligoski’s rights gives the Coyotes nine uncontested days to get a deal done. If Goligoski is not inked by July 1 he will become an unrestricted free agent.
ARI doesn't have a contract in place for Goligoski but plans to bring the player into ARI and sell him on the Coyotes.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 16, 2016
For the Stars, the departure of Goligoski may be a signal that they are prepared to make Jason Demers a solid offer. There were questions about how they’d handle the blue line situation, and this may be the first sign of how GM Jim Nill gets things going. Goligoski, Demers, Kris Russell and Jordie Benn are all unrestricted free agents. Not all were likely to be re-signed, as the team likely needs to do something to make it a little stronger, while making space for a young player or two — Stephen Johns, Esa Lindell, Julius Honka — to take a lot more ice time in the coming season.
After the trade, the Coyotes are left with two 1st round picks, two 2nd round picks, one 3rd round pick, one 6th round pick and one 7th round pick. The acquisition of Arizona’s fifth round pick gives the Stars a 1st round pick, two in the 5th round, and one each in the 3rd, 4th and 6th round.
Goligoski tells me he's Open to anything, want a good fit on a team heading in right direction. Will visit AZ on Monday Tues & go from there
— Josh Rimer (@JoshRimerPR) June 16, 2016
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.