Who would have thought that when Alex Goligoski was invited to the Phoenix area, where an excessive heat wave blistered the area to discuss a possible contract, that he would actually get signed?
How much did this cost the Coyotes?
Well... he did get signed to a lucrative (perhaps too lucrative) five-year deal worth $27.375 million.
That means he has the third-highest cap hit on the Arizona Coyotes behind Mike Smith and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. At these numbers, Chayka must be fairly certain that Goligoski will perform up to expectations.
New GM John Chayka has already made a statement by signing this steady, excellent puck moving D-man that he is dead set on improving this team with a goal of making the playoffs this next season.
When questioned by the press, Goligoski had this to say:
"I am very happy to join the Coyotes," Goligoski said. "Arizona is a great place to live and play and I'm excited to join an up-and-coming team that has a ton of talent and a very bright future."
Don't worry Alex, it's a DRY heat
And Arizona is a great place to live and play, but he may have thought otherwise when he stepped off the plane only to face the intense 118 degree desert heat.
Chayka responded with his reaction to the signing:
"We are thrilled to sign Alex to a long-term contract," said general manager John Chayka. "Alex is a great skater and a smart, efficient defenseman who moves the puck well and makes his teammates better. He will help solidify our defense and support the growth of our young players. He will be a great addition to our team and we welcome him and his wife Amanda to the pack."
Here is an interview with Goligoski on the Arizonasports.com show:
So, what does this do to improve the Arizona Coyotes?
Quite a bit, actually.
They now have not one, but two defensemen who are excellent at moving the puck, and maintaining good possession statistics, which has been a weakness for the team. Goligoski's Corsi CF% was 53.1, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson's was a team leading 51.0.
That means with the talented young, fast forwards like Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook, Tobias Rieder and Dylan Strome the puck can be in the attacking zone more than the defensive zone, where you can't score goals.
The budget still has room for some more talented players
With another $14 million left over after this signing to get to the salary cap floor, Chayka can start to concentrate on what to spend on key players like Tobias Rieder, Shane Doan, Connor Murphy, Michael Stone, Louis Domingue, and Alex Tanguay -- to name a few.
They may even go after some other attractive free agents. Kyle Okposo from the New York Islanders would be a good fit for the team. With only a cap hit of $2.8 million and a salary of $4.5 million, the Coyotes could become a much better team with his statistics and level of play.
Okposo had 22 goals and 42 assists last season, which would really lift the already potent offense the Yotes are putting on the ice. He's a right wing and with Shane Doan's playing days numbered, it would be a plus to add a player of Okposo's size (6' 0", 217) and ability.
So, John... what's your next move?