It’s been exactly three and a half years since the Dallas Stars sent James Neal and Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Alex “Goose” Goligoski. Hopes were high for the Stars’ new lefty D-man, but he has since been considered by some as a weak return on a lopsided trade. This is due in part to Goligoski’s pedestrian output, but primarily because of Neal’s emergence as an all-star winger. However the tail end of the 2013-14 season treated Stars fans with a pleasant surprise: a minute-munching Goose who finally lived up to the hype. Oh sure, that playoff appearance was pleasant too, but I’d say not as surprising as Goligoski’s performance.
Goligoski finished the regular season with a +9, as well as a career-high 42 points. He turned it up down the stretch, tallying 18 points in the final 24 games of the regular season. But it was during the playoffs where he turned into an absolute stud. In 6 games he logged 4 points and a sexy +7, along with averaging a grueling 28.5 minutes on the ice. These numbers are consistent with a top-tier defender, not to mention that without Goose the Stars likely would’ve been taken to the woodshed.
So, what if he can operate at that clip for the entirety of this coming season? Assuming he stays healthy, that 30-game production extrapolated over 82 games would yield a whopping 60 points! Add in the fact that he’s a career +47 player who has never finished a season with a negative +/- figure, and all of a sudden there is no ceiling for the oft-maligned Dallas defense. What’s even more frightening is the confidence he now shows at the blueline, and the chemistry he displays with Trevor Daley during defensive sequences. He may be peaking just in time to compliment what is sure to be a potent forward group.
The ill-advised passes are less frequent. The production is up. The tough minutes are being dutifully served. And at season’s end, we may may be singing a different song about that trade in February 2011.
Thanks for reading my first post for Blackout Dallas. I’m extremely excited about contributing and looking forward to a successful season! What do you think of Goligoski’s chances? Feel free to comment below!