Everyone remembers last summer at this time? What was the one thing that we all kept saying that our beloved Dallas Stars needed? If you answered a new owner, well you were right. But the answer I was looking: a star defenseman. Fast forward through another less then satisfactory season, and the Stars are still desperately in need of both. But did they actually find one of the two during this last season?
At the time of the James Neal trade, many writers and puck-heads gave the Pittsburgh Penguins all the credit for getting a top six forward with more potential and a former first-round pick in Matt Niskanen from the Stars. Alex Goligoski was a nice blueliner, but many said he was nothing more then another #3 or #4 defenseman, something the Stars had plenty of. While he gave the Stars a good puck-moving Dman like they could really use, many thought the Stars gave up a top-line power forward and a former stud prospect who didn’t work out for far too little.
Then something magical happened. Or whatever you want to call it. “Goose” came over the Stars and immediately made an impact with the team. He right away transitioned into a role of top-pair blueliner and point-man on the powerplay, and he did not miss a beat in doing so. He proved that GM Joe Nieuwendyk knew what he was doing when he made the deal, and that the Stars saw that he was being underused on a pretty strong defense in Pittsburgh. He racked up 5 goals and 10 assists in just 23 games, and in that stretch looked like the Stars best blueliner in their push to try and make the playoffs.
So while the team does still need defensive help in the physical sense, the Stars look like they may have added that top-line puck mover that they have been missing since the great Sergei Zubov left. I am not saying his is Zubov, or even to that level yet. But he has been the closest thing Stars fans have seen to him since he returned home to Russia. Goligoski just turned 25, has great hands, skates very well, and has a pretty nice shot from the point as well. Young, talented, smart, and on the Stars defense. I like the how that sounds and this coming season we could be in for a treat if he can provide a full season of what we got a taste of to end last season. Immediately he enters the conversation for the Stars’ best blueliner, and while Daley and Robidas are nice, I already would put Alex a half notch higher. Time will tell, like it does with most trades, but as of right now I am happy with the deal and look forward to watching Goligoski in a Stars uniform this year.