It looks as though the first move made by John Chayka, the new Arizona Coyotes’ General Manager, has paid off.
The Coyotes and defenseman Alex Goligoski have agreed to a five-year contract reportedly worth $23.375 million. The contract has a cap hit of $5.475 million per season.
“He will help to solidify our defense and support the growth of our young players. He will be a great addition to our team,” said Chayka.
Arizona acquired the rights to Goligoski on June 16 in exchange for a 2016 fifth round pick in the NHL Entry Draft. The Coyotes had nine days of exclusivity to try and get a deal done before other teams could negotiate with the potential unrestricted free agent. Goligoski won’t be hitting the open market come July 1, which means the price of unrestricted free agent defenseman Keith Yandle just went up. The Florida Panthers could take him off the market since they have exclusive rights to him until June 25.
“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,” said Goligoski.
Goligoski played in all 82 games last season for the Dallas Stars. He had five goals, 32 assists, 37 points, was a plus 21 and averaged 23:50 of ice time per game. The defenseman was seventh in scoring on the Stars. He was second among the defensemen in scoring on the Stars and his +21 rating was tied for the seventh highest among NHL defensemen. In 13 postseason games, Goligoski had four goals, three assists, seven points and was a minus six. He led the Stars with four goals and seven points during their time in the playoffs.
He is a top-4 caliber defenseman and will help to take some pressure off of Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Goligoski will most likely play on the second defensive pairing since both he and Ekman-Larsson are left-handed shots. He can log a ton of minutes while playing at even strength, on the power play or on the penalty kill. Goligoski will help to develop the young blue line that the Coyotes have, and bring another veteran presence to the team.
The defenseman is mobile and can move the puck, which should help the Coyotes break out of their own zone a little bit better. He can act as a fourth forward at times since he isn’t afraid to jump into the play offensively. However He has been know to turn over the puck at times, which undoubtedly he and the Coyotes will address.
Goligoski will be a solid addition to a young blue line and with plenty of cap space just to get to the cap floor, look for the Coyotes to make more moves this offseason.