Defenseman Alex Goligoski is not the only problem for your Dallas Stars professional ice hockey team, but he is a good face. He makes a lot of money. They gave up a lot to get him. He has not played well this season. He is not scheduled to play for the Stars on Thursday night against the Calgary Flames because the head coach thinks his team is better off without him on the ice.
(By not playing well he has played in eight games this season, has no points, and is a minus-10. Other than that, total stud.)
On Feb. 21, 2011 then Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk made his biggest goof when he dealt winger James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen to the Penguins in return for Goligoski, who was the puck-moving defenseman and heir to Sergei Zubov. That worked out well.
I asked Goligoski if he thinks this is the right place for him.
"Yeah; I don't see why not," he said. "Since I've been here things have kind of snowballed on us."
Neal has been an All-Star with the Penguins, including a 41-goal season in 2011-'12.
The guy the Stars badly wanted to dump - Niskanen - looks like a player; he has six points and is a plus-9 with the Penguins this season.
Other players affect these sorts of things, but this trade continues to be a giant elephant for this franchise. For whatever the reason, Goligoski has simply not worked out for the Stars. He is beginning to look like a player who needs to be surrounded by really good players to look good rather than a good player who makes his teammates look better than they are.
"It hasn't been very good; any time you aren't producing the way you'd to and the team is not winning it's tough," Goligoski told me on Thursday morning.
The duh question is - what's wrong? He was never Zubov, but he is better than this.
"To be honest it's a little bad luck and not maybe being assertive enough and playing a little cautious; I'm still feeling things out," he said.
Words such as "cautious" often equates conservative, and fear. Goligoski said this is not a case of not wanting to screw up.
"It's more concentrating on being in the right position maybe a little much; you're thinking about where you want to be instead of reacting and just playing. That is something I can do a little differently," he said. "I'm looking for positives right now instead of dwelling on what hasn't gone right."
The trade is gone, and the move or his salary is not on current Stars GM Jim Nill, but they need Goligoski to be better if for no other reason to get something out of a contract that goes up to $4.8 million in 2014-'15 and 2015-'16.
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