The Dallas Stars have traded the rights to Alex Goligoski to the Arizona Coyotes.
Earlier today, there was another casualty of the cap crunch being faced by teams pushing the upper limit. Teuvo Teravainen was packaged in a deal with Bryan Bickell yesterday, and this afternoon, Alex Goligoski was traded from the Dallas Stars to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a fifth round pick in this year’s draft. It should be noted that Goligoski is a pending unrestricted free agent, so the Coyotes have his exclusive negotiating rights until free agency begins.
Working under the assumption that Goligoski is signed by Arizona, what does this mean for both teams?
There shouldn’t be much impact coming on Oliver Ekman-Larsson as far as production goes. When support players are acquired, they often don’t eat into the production of the top d-man. Think of Trevor Daley in Pittsburgh, Dougie Hamilton in Calgary, Tyler Myers in Winnpeg, and so on. So fpr all of you OEL owners out there, it’s business as usual.
One player I do think this has an impact on, at least for his potential upside, is Michael Stone. Stone is coming off a career-year that saw him put up 36 points, over two shots a game, 14 power play points, and a career-high in ice time per game. He was also second among Coyotes d-men in power play ice time per game at nearly three minutes per game (OEL led the league in this regard, at over five minutes a game). Part of the reason that Stone received so much power play time was the lack of a viable secondary option behind OEL; Connor Murphy is still rounding into form and Stefan Elliott didn’t last the season in a Coyotes jersey. Now, though, there is a viable secondary option behind OEL.
This isn’t to say that Stone can’t be a 30-35 point defenceman, but I don’t think he takes a step in production beyond what he did last year. They can only feed so many mouths, and it’s not like this is a truly potent offensive team like Pittsburgh, Washington, or Dallas. There are only so many goals and minutes to go around. If the coaching staff keeps him as the second option on the power play, he could repeat last year. If they insert Goligoski as the second option, it’s likely Stone takes a step back.
As for Goligoski himself, a big reason for the drop in points from being a former 40+ point guy to a 35-40 point guy was the loss in power play time to John Klingberg; over the last two seasons, Goligoski’s per game drop in PP ice time was about 1:20. That’s significant.
Ekman-Larsson is the clear-cut top dog in Arizona, and there’s no reason to think he won’t see the lion’s share of power play time. With that said, if Goligoski slots in as the second power play option consistently, he can bounce back to being a 40-point defenceman. If not, what he’s done the last two seasons is about his ceiling.
It’s still too early to see what the impact will be here for Dallas. Obviously, like OEL, Klingberg is the undisputed top defence option for his team, and will be barring injury. The thing here is the next two d-men in terms of power play time per game last year were Goligoski (traded), and Kris Russell (pending UFA). After them? Jason Demers, also a UFA. Assuming Russell and Demers don’t come back, I’m not sure who slots in on the second unit. We will have to wait and see if either (or both) return to the Stars.
Looking to crack the roster will be guys like Esa Lindell (I think he’ll be on the team), and Julius Honka. They still have Johnny Oduya for another year as well, but he’s not really a PP specialist. I would have to think that one of Russell or Demers is brought back, and whoever is signed will get the second unit PP duties out of the gate.
Dallas will still have more moves to make moving forward, this is just the first domino to fall.
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