The first move by newly hired GM John Chayka of the Arizona Coyotes was an expected reenforcement for the defense; and if the team can convince Alex Goligoski to relocate to the desert, it will mean a upgrade for the blueline.
What did it cost to do this?
All it cost the Arizona Coyotes to acquire the rights to sign Goligoski was a fifth round draft pick (no. 128). He will visit the Valley of the Sun next week, and with the team holding the exclusive rights until June 25th to sign him, that will give the Yotes an advantage.
If he doesn't sign with the team by the deadline, then he will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, free to sign with other teams.
It is perceived that Goligoski will be on the second line defense behind the first line of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and his probable pairing partner Connor Murphy.
He is a workhorse, having logged 24 minutes a game with the Dallas Stars. The other key factor is he has only missed three games in the last four seasons, and that can certainly help a team who has had issues with their defensemen being injured.
He has really decent stats also. Five goals, 32 assists in 82 games last season, with a +/- of +21. He stays out of the penalty box too, with only 34 minutes in the box. He blocks shots at a rate of almost two a game, and is an excellent puck mover.
With a team like the Coyotes who have young speedy forwards, getting them the puck on rushes will lead to more scoring chances.
If the new GM likes him, he must be alright
New GM John Chayka commented to the Coyotes' Dave Vest on Goligoski's abilities:
“I think he’s the perfect fit for our team with where we’re at with our young group of forwards," Chayka said. “They need someone who plays the new age of defense, which is transition to offense and getting the puck up to our forwards and joining the rush and supporting the attack. Those are some of the key variables that we see that he brings to the table. And with a team that over the last few years has not been good in defensive metrics, he’s got real history of being strong defensively and good on penalty kill and being used in all situations. He's a very versatile player that our coaching staff would really enjoy."
This deal shows that Head Coach/Executive V.P. of Hockey Operations Dave Tippett still has a good working relationship with the Dallas Stars. It is hopeful more deals can be done soon. The team did announce that they signed forward Craig Cunningham to a one-year two-way contract. He will start playing for the newly named Tucson Roadrunners team in the AHL, and could be recalled to Phoenix when the need arises.
The clock is ticking
Time is running out for some players to be re-signed, and GM John Chayka must be working overtime to get it done. They more than likely will make offers to Toby Rieder, Connor Murphy, Louis Domingue, Michael Stone, and Klas Dahlbeck.
If they convince Goligoski to sign, they will want to add another right-handed shooting D-man, and Kevin Shattenkirk or Jacob Trouba would be excellent candidates.