Coyotes sign defenseman Goligoski to 5-year deal
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes addressed a critical need prior to the start of free agency next month by signing veteran defenseman Alex Goligoski, most recently with the Dallas Stars, to a five-year contract.
The Coyotes traded a fifth-round choice in this week's draft to Dallas for the exclusive negotiating rights to Goligoski, 30, who was set to become a free agent on July 1 with the expiration of his four-year $18.4 million contract. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca reported that the contract has an average value of just under $5.5 million per year.
"We are thrilled to sign Alex to a long-term contract," general manager John Chayka said. "Alex is a great skater and a smart, efficient defenseman who moves the puck well and makes his teammates better. He will help solidify our defense and support the growth of our young players. He will be a great addition to our team and we welcome him and his wife Amanda to the pack."
Goligoski visited the Valley on Monday to meet with Chayka and head coach Dave Tippett and heard enough to convince him he didn't need to test the free-agent market.
"For me going into this whole process, it was about finding a good fit," he said. "Getting down there and meeting everyone, my wife and I, it was almost immediate. It felt right, it felt like home.
"They have things headed in the right direction. The young core, they're going to grow quickly. It doesn't take two, three years any more. They're certainly not short on talent there. There's just a lot to like."
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defenseman played in all 82 games for the Dallas Stars in 2015-16. He recorded five goals, 32 assists, 34 penalty minutes and a plus-minus rating of plus 21. He ranked seventh on the Stars in scoring, second in plus-minus, second in time-on-ice/game (23:50) and second among Stars' defensemen in points.
Goligoski also registered four goals and three assists in 13 postseason games with the Stars. He led Dallas defensemen in postseason goals and points.
Goligoski likened the Coyotes situation to like the one he encountered upon being traded to Dallas in 2011 -- an up-and-coming team that has now made the playoffs for three years in a row and finished second in the NHL this season with 109 points.
"When I got to Dallas, it was kind of the same situation," he said. "The team was kind of at a little bit of a crossroads. I've seen how fast it can happen in similar markets.
"With the guys they have there right now, the guys they have coming, the financial freedom they have that a lot of teams don't have, they're in position to compete really soon."
Goligoski said he's comfortable playing either side of the ice and he's thrilled to join a defensive corps headlined by Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
"He's world class," he said. "If he was in a big hockey market, he's a Norris (Trophy) contender for sure."
The Grand Rapids, Minn., native has 55 goals and 222 assists in his career, spanning 562 games with the Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins. He was a second-round draft choice of the Penguins in 2004.