Wild 2022 Player Report Card: Alex Goligoski

Half of the main Minnesota Wild defensemen have received their final season grades, so it’s now time to talk about the second Minnesota native on the team, Alex Goligoski. He caused quite the stir when the Wild signed him during free agency last summer due to the hefty price tag of $5 million for one season.

While the original deal may have been high, Goligoski impressed the staff enough to re-sign him for two more seasons just months before this season ended, but at a more friendly cap hit of $2 million a year. Comparing him to other defensemen of his age and caliber, it seems like a pretty good deal especially when one of those comparable players was Ryan Suter. They were pretty similar stats-wise this season, the one exception being their time on ice where Suter averaged almost five more minutes per game. Goligoski’s new contract at $2 million was still much friendlier compared to Suter’s at over $3.6 million a season.

It seemed like a majority of the Wild’s defensemen were bothered by injuries this season and Goligoski didn’t get spared. He missed a total of 10 games for a variety of reasons, the first three were due to an upper-body injury early in the season. After he returned to the lineup, he played until COVID caught him and he missed two more games. The other five games he missed due to being a healthy scratch.

Goligoski’s Decent Season

In Goligoski’s 72 games, he scored two goals and 28 assists for 30 points. While it didn’t rank very high amongst other NHL defensemen, it did get him tied for 10th on the Wild and with fellow blueliner Jonas Brodin. Unfortunately, none of his stats were career highs, but it did mark an improvement from the season prior, as he tied his career-high in penalty minutes with 34.

Alex Goligoski Minnesota Wild
Alex Goligoski, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Similar to Matt Dumba, while Goligoski’s offensive stats were a great bonus, the main focus should be on his defensive skills. He was lower in the hit department with 56, as the team lead was 238. Blocked shots are probably one of the most important defensive stats and he had 96 throughout his 72 games and was fourth on the Wild above even Dumba and Jared Spurgeon.

One of Goligoski’s most disappointing stats he had was his giveaways, as he had 31 along with a dismal six takeaways. While his giveaways need work, his time on ice was in the top five on the team at 18:56. However, he did have four power-play points as well.

Goligoski’s Quiet Postseason

While Goligoski had decent offensive contributions during the regular season, add his name to the list of players that froze during the playoffs. He played in four of the Wild’s six games and couldn’t find the back of the net himself or assist on others’ goals. He spent two minutes in the penalty box, had two shots on goal and his time on ice dropped from over 18 minutes to just over 15.

Related: Wild’s Goligoski Extension Could Lead to Dumba Trade in Offseason

Goligoski isn’t known for his hits and that remained the same in the postseason with six hits in four games. His blocked shots weren’t as high as expected just like the rest of his linemates, as he had four shots blocked in those games. The giveaways issue was slightly improved, with just one giveaway but zero takeaways.

Alex Goligoski Minnesota Wild
Alex Goligoski, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With the Wild having a couple of extra defensemen when it came to the postseason, Goligoski was one of the odd men out for two of those postseason games, those being the first and last games. They did give him a chance in the middle four games but he struggled like the rest of his teammates.

Goligoski’s Final Grade

With Goligoski, it’s really hard to give him a concrete grade because he’s one of those players that really flies under the radar, as he kind of blends into the lineup almost too well. His 30 points were crucial to the Wild’s success during the regular season but his 96 blocked shots were even more important.

Goligoski’s defense appeared to come first all season and as a defenseman, that’s where it should be. His overall grade is a B+. Many will probably disagree with such a high grade for a player that doesn’t seem to contribute a lot, but as stated above, he went more unnoticed than noticed. He’s an important player and that’s how everyone knows he’s doing his job. He’s not the type of player to stick out and be above everyone else, but puts his nose to the grindstone and just gets things done.

The grade could’ve been higher, but Goligoski’s playoff contributions, or lack thereof, have to be considered. Again, it’s probably starting to sound like a broken record, but since the majority of the team struggled to perform, he can’t be punished greatly for it. He has two more years to improve on his stats and do it with the Wild. Hopefully, this season was just the start and he can contribute more in the years to come.

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