DALLAS, Texas - Short of winning the Conn Smythe trophy, there may not be much Alex Goligoski can do to make The Trade That Got Joe Nieuwendyk Fired any better. But one of the most maligned men on the Dallas Stars has had the type of season to suggest The Trade That Got Joe Nieuwendyk Fired is not a total dumpster fire sports tragedy.
The defenseman for the Dallas Stars, who was supposed to be the "next Sergei Zubov" (said no one), scored one goal in the Dallas Stars' 4-2 win against the Orange County Ducks in Game 4 of the Western Conference first round on Wednesday night.
Goligoski scored 42 points (6 g., 36 a) in 81 games, the most productive season since he came to the Stars. He averaged a little more than 24 minutes of ice time, and this season no longer looks like a tremendous liability that would need to be bought out of a contract that expires after the 2015-'16 season.
(In case you are wondering, the players then Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk traded to acquire Goligoski from the Pittsburgh Penguins in February of '11 - James Neal and Matt Niskanen - combined for a goal and an assist in the Pens' 4-3 loss against the Blue Jackets last night. Neal has been an All-Star, and Niskanen no longer is a frustrating bum.)
"It's kinda hard not to see that - it's everywhere," he said after Wednesday's game when I asked him if he was aware of the constant criticism this trade received. "I mean, nobody likes negative stuff but there is nothing I can do about it."
Goligoski is a good guy, and his production is not necessarily a lack of effort. Some of this was Nieuwendyk putting a little bit too much on Goligoski, and some of this he is finally surrounded by a better cast of players. Put James Neal and Matt Niskanen on a roster loaded with mediocre kids, and they're numbers will drop. Goligoski is on a better team, and his numbers improved.
"I think there are only five guys who are still here since I came here," he said. "New players. New coaches. Changed owners. We do have some younger guys here now and we've had some stability, and I like the direction."
Goligoski will never be Zubov, but The Trade That Got Joe Nieuwendyk Fired no longer looks like such a fire-able offense.
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