Blockbuster trades are a funny thing in sports. What Dallas Stars fan doesn't remember the mixed emotions of the Jamie Langenbrunner/Joe Nieuwendyk/Jason Arnott trade? What Stars fan doesn't remember where they were on that (what I remember to be a cloudy) morning in February when Brad Richards was acquired by the two headed GM monster?
Sergei Zubov, Joe Nieuwendyk, Brian Skrudland and Mike Keane were all trades we look back on as franchise changing moments while we laugh at the acquisitions of Ladislav Nagy and Willie Mitchell, etc. These deals frame every other conversation had in this community and so many others.
With what then, will the name Alex Goligoski be associated in the annals of Dallas Stars history as blow hards such as ourselves pontificate and wax poetic 5 or 10 years from now? A mistake? A boon? Or just flat out forgotten?
It's hard to say right now but this one man (Goligoski) will have a fairly far reaching impact on this team in the short term, players on it now, players in the system and players who aren't here yet, not to mention the legacy of Joe Nieuwendyk and Marc Crawford as leaders of this franchise.
And the money. Don't forget the almighty, controlling money.
The first place Mr. Goligoski's acquisition, through no fault of his own, might significantly impact the Stars is <drumroll> the Brad Richards situation </drumroll> and if it happens the way we'd all like to desperately hope that it can, it could turn out to be a master strike by GM Joe...
Continued after the jump...
It's the $7.8 million dollar question. What will happen with Brad Richards? Conventional wisdom, if you're some fanboy from Toronto, you're a talking head at a major network, or you're "on the beat" for another team somewhere says that the Dallas Stars are a mess and they must trade him.
They mustn't do anything.
It may be a fools hope, but Joe Nieuwendyk maintains he thinks he can sign Brad Richards if the Stars get a new a owner. That's a big IF, but isn't it worth it? He's a concussed rental player and the offers will come in accordingly over the course of the next four days. Someone might get desperate and offer the whole farm for him but we kind of doubt it.
Besides, if you free up eight million dollars of payroll you'll want to go get a big fish center. Brad Richards is the only big fish center there is this off-season. They might as well negotiate with him if you can.
That's where $2.5 million dollars freed up by Goligoski's acquisition (and departure of Neal and Niskanen) come into play. The Torontos and Rangers and Canucks of the world may scoff at a measly $2.5 M but for this club it makes a massive, massive difference.
$2.5 million pays for half of the ~$5 million in raises scheduled for Ott, Eriksson, Daley, Burish, Robidas, Grossman, Fistric, and Lehtonen, to name a few next season. Potential new ownership ideally comes to the rescue on the rest and the money is there to give Richards a very reasonable deal. All because Neal and Niskanen changed addressed.
Call it fantasy if you want, but it's a scenario very much in play and it's possible because of the Goligoski deal.
Sometime in late August or early September the media will set hand to keyboard and begin writing the usual "Trevory Daley set for breakout year offensively". They'll cite Marc Crawfords system and his experience and his skating ability, etc, etc. It's been done. We've done it.
Then at some point they'll remember that Alex Goligoski is on the team and they'll crumple up that virtual paper and finally be able to write something new this year.
Goligoski will eat power play minutes but they're forfeited from Matt Niskanen and as Stephane Robidas ages there's an opportunity for Trevor Daley to still get that time that he's shown this season he can handle.
All in all this move should take a fair amount of pressure off of Trevor Daley's shoulders, and he's already set this season to eclipse his career mark of 25 points. He's got 22 this year with 22 games to go. An easy going Daley with another year under his belt should be even better in 2011-2012 with Goligoski shouldering the load offensively on the blue line.
Ask a Stars fan a week ago and most would tell you that they expected Philip Larsen to make the NHL lineup out of camp in September 2011. His skill set, including that elephant gun from the point he's got has been previewed at the NHL level and he just needs to bulk up a little before unleashing that sharp mind of his in a Dallas uniform.
And then Goligoski was acquired.
The two have inescapably similar skill sets, uses and size. With Robidas already a fixture on the roster and Trevor Daley lacking size and physicality you'd potentially be looking at one too many dudes that are small and offensive minded.
That being said, Larsen is 21 years old and should not be rushed. If Goligoski has the affect on the makeup of the blue line group that we think he might then another year in the AHL could be exactly what he needs. We've seen players be rushed through the system in a hurry only to regress later on.
Alex Goligoski could be the worst thing that ever happened to Philip Larsen and he could also be the best. This is a long term question mark here and we'll see how it turns out together.
A True #1:
Another possible effect of this trade is that it could detrimentally delay the acquisition of the true number one d-man Stars fans have been clamoring for since the demise of one Sergei Zubov.
It's a bit early to be making these kinds of assumptions or predictions of course, but it is possible that Goligoski's skill with the puck excuses the front office, in their minds, from getting that real special player every championship blue line needs and instead acquiring help of the "stay at home" type and hoping that the conglomeration of skill sets evens out over the six or seven guys.
It's not like acquiring a number one d-man is an easy thing to do, so we'll have to excuse this one if it plays out like that. Just something to chew on.
Kari Lehtonen was Joe's first bold move, in this bloggers opinion, but this one is huge, no doubt about it. It could be the proverbial butterfly flapping it's wings and affecting so much more around it than we can see right now.
It's fun to think about, but for now I think we're all most interested to see how Mr. Goligoski can affect the outcome in Detroit tonight. Go Stars? Please?