I’ll be honest. I like Alex Goligoski. When the Goligoski to Dallas rumors surfaced during Stars practice this morning I thought about volunteering to pick him up at the airport if the deal got done.
In other words, I like the trade. Not just because I like Goligoski as a player, but because of what he brings to the Dallas lineup. He’s a good, young puck moving defenseman who can provide some offensive punch to the Stars’ blue line and bring some skill to the point on the power play. It’s something the Stars needed. And now they have it.
To get it they gave up a good, young goal scorer in James Neal. It’s a cliché, but it fits here – you’ve got to give up something to get something. The Stars needed to improve the blue line and they needed to send something of quality the other way.
Neal’s been a productive player in his NHL career, topping the 20-goal mark in each of his three seasons. He’s had some ups and downs, some consistency issues. Par for the course for a young player. He’s a blossoming power forward and he’s only going to get better. The Penguins are getting a good deal here too.
It’s tough to give up a guy that’s provided 72 goals over the past three seasons, especially a young player that has lots of potential for improvement and is a unique talent in his own way. But defensemen with Goligoski’s skillset aren’t exactly a dime-a-dozen either. Again, it’s quality in exchange for quality, just a different kind of quality.
Even with Neal’s departure, the Stars are still in good shape at forward. When the team is healthy, they still boast a very good, deep and versatile set of forwards. And their defense just an upgrade. Goligoski is no shutdown defenseman, but his defensive game has gotten better over the years. And he’s good at getting the puck out of his own end, which is a big part of staying out of trouble defensively.
As for Matt Niskanen – the other player headed to Pittsburgh in the deal – I think the change of scenery might do him some good. He hit a wall with the Stars. He’s still has some good potential and maybe he’ll reach that with the Penguins. He obviously had a good start in his NHL career, but has taken a step back. I hope he takes a step forward with the Penguins. I like Niskanen.
I don’t have a problem including him in the deal. Pittsburgh gave up a quality defenseman and getting an NHL defenseman in return had to be something the Penguins needed to get a deal done, especially when you consider the premium being put on defensemen right now.
As with any trade, time will tell. Like any deal, it’s only one part of a bigger picture. The Stars saved some money for the rest of this season with the trade and have given themselves an extra $2.5 million for next season. How that all plays out is a factor too.