The Arizona Coyotes may very well lose a member of their blueline since 2016. The Alex Goligoski trade rumours are accelerating at a fast pace. He is now eighth on the TSN trade bait board. Now, that doesn’t necessarily automatically mean the defenceman will be dealt, but the possibilities are becoming crystal clear. With 2021 NHL trade deadline quickly approaching, the fact that Goligoski will be 36 in July and that he carries a $5.475 million cap hit almost means he’s not returning to Arizona.
Arizona Coyotes Alex Goligoski: Trade Rumours Are Out There
When you consider that $4 million is Goligoski’s actual salary, then a team interested in his services at the trade deadline would not have to pay the entire amount to finish off the 2020-21 season. What a bargain! And in this pandemic-filled NHL season, NHL owners are looking for all the bargains they can acquire. They are losing their shirts (and pants) due to no fans, or hardly any fans attending games for health reasons.
Now, Goligoski has played in 903 games as of this writing and knows his way around the blueline. He has collected 81 goals and 331 assists in his years in the league. More impressively he has averaged over 22:30 minutes of ice time. He’s a reliable player and a good teammate. His agent is selling those attributes to any suitors who come calling for his services. A team going to the playoffs could really use his puck moving skills. He has seven goals and 14 assists in 43 playoff games in his career. Experience with a capital ‘E’ for sure.
Two Teams Who Seem to be Interested in Goligoski.
When Alex Goligoski trade rumours began earlier this month, it was noted that the Philadelphia Flyers may be intrigued by adding him to their roster. The attraction for the Flyers to acquiring Goligoski is that although he is a left-hand shot, he is accustomed to playing the right side as well. He could be a good rental for the Flyers. Seeing how the Flyers have been giving up so many goals of late, the need to bring in reinforcements seems plausible.
The Coyotes need draft picks to move forward, and the Flyers have all of their draft selections except their fifth rounder. That could bode well for the Arizona club for a return. Perhaps a third round pick and a prospect would be in order.
The Other Interested Party
Just recently, the Winnipeg Jets have entered the “we’re interested in Alex Goligoski club.” An article in The Athletic (subscription required) by Murat Ates details how Goligoski can help the Jets move towards the playoffs. His puck moving skills and veteran presence could guide them in that goal. With the new quarantine rules revised to allow NHL teams to trade between the U.S. and Canada a trade with Arizona just became a possibility.
The Jets like that Golgoski has traded his power-play role for top-pairing responsibilities while helping mentor linemate Jakob Chychrun.
Citing The Athletic’s Dom Liszczszyn, Goligoski “plays very tough minutes for the Coyotes and though his expected goals rate is below 50 perent, it’s higher than the team average. That’s decent for his role and it’s possible that he could show more in a more sheltered role. That’s sorta of what the Islanders banked on last year with Andy Greene and that’s worked out tremendously for them. Goligoski could provide similar value.”
The Jets possess all of their draft picks except their fourth and seventh picks, so they could interest the Coyotes with one of those.
This Could be The Start of a Modified Coyotes’ Blueline
Besides Goligoski, the Desert Dogs have four other defencemen with expiring contracts. Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Jason Demers, and Ilya Lyubushkin are also in the mix. Where will they go? Likely Oesterle and Lyubushkin will re-sign, but Hjalmarsson may just go back to Sweden to play. Demers could be traded or become a free agent.
Even if two of the five D-men stay, it will mean that the Coyotes’ blueline will have a whole new look next season. Considering that they will be moving over to the tougher Central Division, defence will remain an important ingredient of success.
One thing is certain, losing Alex Goligoski seems to be happening. He served the Coyotes well and will be missed. We wish him well. Wherever he lands that team will know they have added a veteran who is both reliable and a good teammate.