The Dallas Stars made their first of potentially many moves this offseason on Thursday. The Stars traded the free agent rights of defenseman Alex Goligoski to the Arizona Coyotes. In exchange, the Stars receive a 5th round draft pick in this year’s draft.
For the Coyotes, this simply means they will have early negotiations for the unrestricted free agent Goligoski before he’s officially free on July 1. For the Stars, they gained something from nothing as contract talks dwindled when the two sides, Goligoski and the Stars front office that is, could not agree to terms.
The 30-year-old Goligoski does not have to sign with the Coyotes, but the trade in all likely hood ends his time as a Dallas Star. The Stars traded for Goligoski back in 2011 from Pittsburgh. From then on, Goligoski was a staple in the Stars’ defensive core. Each year he led or was among the top in points for Stars’ defenseman. Goligoski never had a plus/minus under zero each year and was among the top in assist for the team. Yet, the two biggest assets in his game will be the hardest to replace. His speed matched up with just about any forward in the league and his two-way play added another level to the Stars game that most teams do not have. The Stars will have some work to do this offseason to replace his skill-set.
Goligoski’s departure answers one of several questions and decisions needed for the Stars offseason. Seven unrestricted free agents loom in the mind of Jim Nill and the Stars’ front office. Among those seven are three on defense as Kris Russell and Jason Demers top the list of defenseman becoming free. Kris Russell was traded for in the middle of the past season and became a dominant defenseman blocking shots and controlling the penalty-kill lines. Jason Demers was flipped for Brenden Dillon of the San Jose Sharks (and a third round pick for the Stars in this draft) in the 2014/15 season. After John Klingberg and Goligoski, Demers ranked third in plus/minus on the team. Other free agents consist of Colton Sceviour, Patrick Eaves, Vernon Fiddler, Travis Moen and Jordie Benn.
There’s a lot to do this offseason for Jim Nill and company and things will likely start moving on draft day, June 24. Since Jim Nill has been with the team, there’s been impactful transactions each year. It started with the splash trade for Tyler Seguin in 2013. The following year, the Stars traded for Jason Spezza and that was followed the next season with a trade for Patrick Sharp.
Expect the same type of movement this offseason as the Stars look to further improve from their second round departure from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Keep it here for the latest Stars moves and transactions.