Defenseman / Dallas Stars
Jul 30, 1985 (25 yrs old)
Grand Rapids, MN.
Drafted: 2004 Draft - 2nd round (61st overall) by PIT
Signed through 2011-12 @ 1.833 mil / year
Becomes a RFA Summer 2012
For quite some time now one of the biggest knocks on the Dallas Stars was that their defense lacked the ability to produce points and move the puck out of their zone with any proficiency. It was just Saturday that even the hockey gurus with CBC up in Canada spent some time during the Stars contest with the Canucks marveling over the fact that the Stars have virtually no offensive production from their blue line outside of Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley ... And even then using those two was a bit of a stretch.
The Stars picking up Alex Goligoski in a trade goes a long way in helping that shortcoming. This is not going to be a cure-all for this team by any stretch but "Gogo" will be a bit breath of fresh air for Stars fans who are tired of seeing their team pinned down in their own zone night after night.
After the jump we get some thoughts on Alex from the Penguins point of view and we look at some of his work over the last while.
We start with Frank D who is the managing editor of SBN's PensBurgh who shared with us these thoughts on the Stars newest defenseman and how his timre wrapped up with the Penguins:
At the start of the season, Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang were the two guys expected to be the future of the blue line. A few pairings here and there had both of them sharing the top line, but only later in the season did we see Letang retain that position and Gogo move more to a fifth d-man role. With time, Goligoski could be and should be a top defenseman. By Ray Shero moving him, it doesn't necessarily show that he's giving up on the kid, but more so that he's not ruling out a season that has left the Penguins with an injured and depleted roster all the way down to the AHL level.
Perhaps the change of scenery will work well for Gogo. Letang was thankfully playing well enough to the point where people were praising his play rather than highlighting Goligoski's faults/growing pains. I personally feel he was one more season away from getting the Ryan Whitney treatment, which is to say completely ridden out of town.
With 9 goals and 22 assists so far this season, Alex instantly becomes the Stars leading scorer on defense so while he may have been considered a 5th d-man in Pittsburgh, he will no doubt get top defensive pairing minutes with Dallas and of course see plenty of power play time. In fact in two of his last three games with the Pens, Alex was playing top line minutes with Letang and three points in his last four games played so at the very least he comes to the Stars on a bit of a hot streak.
Alex probably won't help defensively in terms of clearing opposing players in front of the net and he has been prone to making mistakes in his own zone and struggles at times handling the puck. Don't count on seeing him on the Stars penalty killing unit any time soon. He is 25 years old however and that part of his game may still develop with some Penguins fans and observers having shared the opinion that it has improved at least slightly.
He's not the big, physical defenseman that the Stars also desperately need but finding a player that fills both roles is near impossible -- and will cost much more than the Stars gave up for Goligoski. What the Stars do get, however, is a player that is able to run the power play from the point and provide great ability in the transition game that is perhaps the Stars biggest struggle this season. He's a great skater and a smart passer and nearly everyone we talk to describe him as a very talented offensive defenseman who is improving defensively -- where it matter the most.
For those that follow advanced stats, we have this per red army line in the comments:
Goligoski was definitely getting sheltered minutes in PIT. I’m reading low quality of competition, low quality of teammates, slightly positive Corsi (link), overperforming his talent at 5on5 (his PDO is 103.2, when the number regresses hard to 100.0—his +20 is better than he truly is), great zone start. Lots of PP time, the Pens PP was very slightly better without Gogo than with him (he sometimes played first unit, sometimes second, I think), but still 2nd highest GFON/60. He got a bit of PK time and did well in it. Looks though like the PK might be a fluke, but the high GFON/60 on the PP doesn’t. At least, that’s my take.
He's a very smart player, very cerebral and while the early, word is that he is purely an offensive option he's been improving defensively as this season has progressed. He's becoming more physical and while he hesitates at times with the puck, the fact that he still puts up the numbers he does speaks to just how much potential he has.
He's never going to be a "shutdown defenseman" but the hope is that his ability on offense will free up Stephane Robidas to focus more on defense and not have all the pressure to provide on offense as well.
The bottom line in all of this though is that - besides any possible budget and monetary concerns - bringing in Alex is a move aimed at improving the Stars offense from the blue line. Even with the likes of Benn, Richards, Eriksson and so on, a team still needs defensemen to produce points and that wasn't happening with the current lineup.
Here's a few more options on what to expect from Goligoski: