The new Coyotes General Manager John Chayka has made his biggest move to date. On Wednesday, he announced that the club has signed former Dallas Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski to a five-year contract.
“We are thrilled to sign Alex to a long term contract,” said 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.”
“I think for me going into this whole process it was about finding a good fit and kind of knowing I would be somewhere for multiple years, I wanted to be part of a team I knew would grow,” Goligoski said Wednesday. “It checked all the boxes for me and getting down there and meeting everyone, it felt right and felt like hime. From the hockey side of it, I am really excited.”
Goligoski could have tested open market beginning July 1 at the beginning of NHL free agency. Instead, the Coyotes acquired negotiating rights from the Stars to speak with him early and had him fly out Monday to “get the tour” and get to know the organization. Two days later, he decided to pull the trigger early and lock into a long-term deal with the Coyotes.
“With sitting down with Coach and John, it just feels like they have things headed in the right direction and with this young core coming up,”Goligoski explained. “We see these young guys coming into the league and it doesn’t take them three or four years anymore. They are not short on young talent…For me it was kind of like why would I explore elsewhere if it felt right.”
When discussing the young talent, the defenseman already on the roster with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Michael Stone and Connor Murphy are players all under the age of 26 that Goligoski is excited to team up with on the blue line.
“Ekman-Larrson is world class and maybe these past couple of years if he was in a big hockey market, he’d be a Norris (trophy for top defenseman) contender, I am thrilled to be playing with him,” Goligoski stated. “I really like Stone’s game, when we played him he was a big factor on the ice and I have heard a lot about Connor Murphy.”
Head Coach Dave Tippett’s style of play is something that Goligoski knows well from being in the same division the last few seasons coming from the Stars and mentions that his own versatility fits well in his new coach’s system.
“I’ve played against his teams enough to know that he gets the most out of his players,” he explained. “It’s about accountability. I have heard nothing but great things from his players and I am excited to play under him.”
“One of my strengths is that I can move around. Ive played the right side and the left side,” Goligoski added. “Both have their up’s and down’s. Wherever they want to put me is fine, whatever they need me to do, I’ll do.”
Goligoski played in all 82 games for a Stars team last season that had a run into the playoffs. He recorded 5-32-37, 34 penalty minutes and was a plus-21. He ranked seventh on the Stars in scoring, second in plus-minus, second in time-on-ice/game (23:50) and also finished second among Stars’ defensemen in points. His plus-21 rating ranked tied for seventh-highest among NHL defensemen.
We will see who else the Coyotes will add to their organization this friday the 24th for the 2016 NHL Draft where they will begin selecting seventh and 20th overall.