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2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Dreger: James Neal For Alex Goligoski Rumor?

Hold on to your cowboy hats, Stars fans (that's right visiting trade rumor mongers, every single Texan wears cowboys hats and rides horses. Aren't stereotypes fun?) because the rumor mill is just getting cranked up and apparently not every one is going to include wistful, baseless Brad Richards speculation. (Brad Richards isn't skating today, btw, which is the real news today...)

The Stars are said to be looking for a defenseman and John Michael Liles name has already come up, now Mr. Dreger of TSN fame says the Penguins could be looking to deal Alex Goligoski for some help at forward and James Neal is a name that could be of interest.

As with all trade rumors, we advise you to be cautious, doubtful, and downright cynical.

That being said...From the Dreger report...

However, sources say the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins may be working on a deal involving two high quality players.

It's believed the Pens are willing to move defenceman Alex Goligoski for the right forward, and a trade involving Stars winger James Neal has been discussed.

Not saying it's going to happen, but considering what went down in the wee hours Saturday morning between the Blues and Avs, it's most certainly possible.

"Sources say..."

This is the same guy who had that update on the Stars ownership situation last week, and while his reputation is generally pristine, Heika batted that one out to half-court, so to speak.

But what do you think? The confusing thing about such a possibility is that the Stars need help on defense from players who help keep pucks out of the net, not ones more interested in putting them in the opponents (not that that hurts...)

Goligoski is known as a much better player when his own team has the puck and can be a whipping boy for Pens fans at times. Is that all James Neal can net GM Joe should he choose to move him?

Continued after the jump...

Let's go to Fear The Fin, who wrote a great profile on Goligoski as Sharks fans were looking for their big acquisition before the trade for Ian White from Carolina.

Mr. Plank got Hooks Orpik from Pensburgh to weigh in on Goligoski...

Goligoski's pretty polarizing among Penguin fans and might be the closest thing to a whipping boy on the team.

Goligoski's a great skater and very effective puck mover out of his own zone. He's a power play specialist on the point who seems to think the play reasonably well. One area he struggles offensively is with a little hesisation, at times it seems he doesn't trust his shot and will hold the puck too long. He's also a very streaky scorer, when he's "on" he might score 3 goals in 3 games but then he could go 15 games without a goal, so it seems staying consistently confident and "trusting his stuff" as they might say in baseball could apply here too.

In his own zone, Goligoski's still a work in progress. He's not physical at all, his positioning is decent, his stick work is passable. I happen to think he's OK defensively on most nights, but there's no doubt Goligoski's a better player when his team has the puck.

Not exactly reassuring.

Check out the full profile on Goligoski @ Fear The Fin

He'll make $2.75 million next season before hitting free agency. Neal is scheduled for a raise and will get $3.50 million next season.

Taking a 20-30 goal guy in James Neal, who has not yet reached his full potential in this league for a defenseman with some offensive upside but issues in his own end doesn't sound like a home run hit to us. Still you wonder how it would help the power play (where Goligoski has half of his points) and the minutes distribution for Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley, neither of whom you'd play Goligoski with. (He's mobile but not physical in the slightest).

Something else to debate...should James Neal be moved at all? The teams obvious asset is left handed forwards. Brenden Morrow, Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn, Steve Ott, etc... Left wing is not a problem but isn't breaking up the Richards trio (and Brad's thoughts on that, especially, where his future is concerned) something they should be hesitant to do?

Meanwhile Sheldon Souray cleared re-entry waivers, so that's something. Half price doesn't even make that reclamation project worth the risk.

Cover your eyes if you don't like this trade rumor stuff. It will all be over in a week.