Scouting Report: Alex Goligoski

My Scouting Report series continues today, and once again we are focusing on the blue line.

You can read the Jason Demers report here.
Justin Faulk
Tyson Barrie
Kris Russell

Today, we look at the 61st pick from the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Alex Goligoski. Goligoski played three seasons at the University of Minnesota after the Penguins drafted him.

In 2007/2008 he made his pro debut playing 70 games in the AHL. He started the next season in the NHL, but he was sent down to the AHL in early February and finished the season there (Another example of a young player not asking to be traded or sulk, because he didn’t stick with team, despite playing 21 minutes/game before being sent down). He did get recalled for the playoffs and played two games.

He became a regular in 2009/2010 and has played top-pairing minutes ever since.

Goligoski was moved to Dallas at the trade deadline in 2011 for James Neal and Matt Niskanen. Goligoski has been the Stars #1 Dman since the trade, and he’s been extremely healthy.

He has played 291 of a possible 294 games over the past four seasons. That is seventh most among D-men. He’s played the 13th most EV minutes during these four seasons, and the 23rd most (D-men) on the PP.

His PP production to icetime ratio is not great, however, sitting 46th among the 53 D-men who have played 500+ PP minutes the past four seasons.

The Basics:


Turns 31 years old in July

5’11” and 185 pounds.

Shoots left.

UFA this summer.

Current salary: $4.6 million (same as cap hit).


2007-08 PIT 3 0 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
2008-09 PIT 45 6 14 20 5 16 4 8 0 0 0 0 61 9.8
2009-10 PIT 69 8 29 37 7 22 2 17 0 0 0 0 98 8.2
2010-11 PIT 60 9 22 31 20 28 4 17 0 0 4 1 101 8.9
2010-11 DAL 23 5 10 15 0 12 3 7 0 0 0 0 61 8.2
2011-12 DAL 71 9 21 30 0 16 2 9 0 1 1 0 140 6.4
2012-13 DAL 47 3 24 27 4 18 0 11 0 1 0 0 80 3.8
2013-14 DAL 81 6 36 42 9 28 3 15 0 0 0 0 141 4.3
2014-15 DAL 81 4 32 36 0 24 0 8 0 2 0 0 122 3.3
2015-16 DAL 82 5 32 37 21 34 1 5 0 1 1 0 127 3.9
Career 562 55 222 277 68 200 19 97 0 5 6 1 933 5.9

Icetime over his NHL career.

2016   82     23:50     19:32        2:20       1:57
2015   81     23:48     18:46        2:56       2:05
2014   81     24:18     18:31        2:28       3:18
2013   47     22:23     18:03        1:26       2:53
2012   71     22:46     18:20        1:16       3:09
2011   23     26:04      20:03       1:42       4:18 (Dallas)
2011   60     20:45      15:40       1:11       3:53 (Pittsburgh)          
2010   69     21:25      17:21       1:22       2:49
2009   45     18:18      14:13       0:05       4:00

He’s been used as a top pairing defender for the past seven seasons. He was a first unit PP player until John Klingberg arrived, but he has never had great PP production, so he is likely more of a second pair PP player.

The Stars have used him a lot the past three seasons, and I’m curious why Jim Nill hasn’t re-signed any of his three UFA defenders — Goligoski, Demers and Russell — thus far. Considering the lack of quality UFA defenders, it is surprising the Stars haven’t signed any of theirs yet. If I had to pick one to retain, Goligoski would be my first choice.



David Johnson (hockeyanalysis on twitter) the man in charge of took a look at Goligoski’s stat lines.

When I analyze players I generally like to
look at several seasons and situations and look for trends. I also like to look
at score situations differently as players can play different roles based on
the score. While I look at corsi stats to get a grounding on the player I
generally put more weight on goals data, especially if there are consistent
trends over multiple seasons and score situations. I also look at RelTM (or
straight Rel) stats to factor out QoT.

Here are Alex Goligoski’s relevant stats over
the last several seasons.


CF60 RelTM

CA60 RelTM


GF60 RelTM

GA60 RelTM























5v5 Leading

CF60 RelTM

CA60 RelTM


GF60 RelTM

GA60 RelTM























5v5 Trailing

CF60 RelTM

CA60 RelTM


GF60 RelTM

GA60 RelTM























5v5 Tied

CF60 RelTM

CA60 RelTM


GF60 RelTM

GA60 RelTM























Goligoski’s teammates generally had better
on-ice statistics (CF%RelTM and GF% RelTM) when playing with Gologiski than
when not. This is largely driven by the offensive numbers as the Stars
generated more shots and a higher goal rate when Gologoski was on the ice.
While the offense is good, the defensive numbers are a little more mixed.

While it appears that Goligoski is a good
offensive contributor (he ranks highly in points/60 among defensemen as well),
we need to damper our enthusiasm a little. Gologoski’s role leans more towards
offensive situations and he is typically on the ice with Dallas’ offensive
stars. Among defensemen his individual points percentage (the percentage of
goals scored while he was on the ice that he had a point on) is only a little
above average. This could indicate that he is less integral to the Dallas Stars
offense than some other players are to their team’s offense.

This is not to suggest he is a bad
defenseman. He clearly has some offensive skills and is fully capable of being
an offensive contributor on a highly offensive team. Furthermore his defensive
numbers don’t suffer as significantly as some other elite offensive defenseman.
Gologoski is not an elite defenseman but he’ll fit on the top pairing of most
NHL teams at this stage of his career.



This week’s scouting report on Goligoski comes from an active NHL player and two current NHL scouts.

Here is the player’s assessment of Goligoski:

  • Coming off highest
    point total, 42, of his career. His vision has really matured.
  • Can
    move/skate the puck up the ice really well. Very good laterally.
  • Really
    good PP guy. He got pushed to second PP unit for most of the year with Klingberg
    emerging in Dallas. Doesn’t have a bomb of a shot, but gets pucks on goal and he is good at not getting his shot blocked.
  • Not
    physical, and he can struggle again against big strong forwards.

Scout #1

Alex is a minute eater. This season he became more of a consistent player. At times he wasn’t mentally sharp with plays that made you scratch your head, but I felt overall he was much more consistent on a game-by-game basis. He is a little undersized, and he defends with a good stick and positioning. He is light so doesn’t punish anyone.

He is a good puck mover and a good puck transporter. More of a second PP guy. He will put up some offense, but he won’t blow you away offensively. Alex is a terrific person, hard worker who can
play a lot of minutes. I think he is a little bit better version of what the Oilers already have in Andrej Sekera.

Scout #2

He’s a puck mover. Skates well, has good mobility and
won’t get into trouble because of his feet. Manages the puck smartly with his
partner on breakouts and will look to find a first pass coming out of his zone.
He will join the rush late, if the play is there, rather than skate it himself for entries, however, he can create from the back end in the offensive zone by walking the blueline,
finding passing lanes and jumping in for chances.

More of a thinker than hard player defensively. Lacks
some size in the cycle game and can have trouble with bigger bodies. Has a good
skill level, but is not a true #1 PP quarterback. More of a second unit guy, who can moonlight (fill in) in your first unit when necessary.


Goligoski will be the most attractive UFA defender on the market, if he doesn’t re-sign in Dallas. He will command Sekera-like money, and considering his production, he should earn more than $5.5 mill/year. He would be an upgrade for the Oilers, but Edmonton has too many left-shot defenders, and they need to spend money, or assets, trying to acquire a RD.

Goligoski is extremely productive at EV, and that is why he is so valuable. He’s produced the ninth most EV points (he is 13th in pts/60) among defenders since the start of the 2012/2013 season. His 88 points trail only Erik Karlsson (120), Brent Burns (115), Viktor Hedman (97), Alex Pietrangelo (92), Dustin Byfuglien (91), Roman Josi (90) and PK Subban and Duncan Keith (89).

He isn’t a defensive liability either. He has a good stick, and if paired with a bigger, stronger defender his lack of size won’t be as much of an issue.

The Buffalo Sabres have a lot of cap space and could use a top-pair LD. Goligoski would be a welcome addition to their team, and pairing him with Rasmus Ristolainen would be a great off-season acquisition. He’d also be a huge positive in moving the puck up to their young skilled forwards.

I could see him landing a six or seven year deal worth $5.6 to $6 million/year.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

      • Rock11

        I’m with you on “injury prone” but “hockey sense” should be carved into the forehead of every scout and GM in the league.

        I played with a guy as a kid that was just an absolute beast. Big, stupid fast and could shoot the puck through a brick wall. But he had completely no clue where to be on the ice, how to get open for a pass, where to be on D. Carved out a decent career in Europe on physical ability alone. Any “hockey sense” at all and he probably has a decent NHL career in the bottom six for some team. I wouldn’t know how to explain why someone with that pure talent only reached the relatively minor level he did without the term “Hockey sense” or “Hockey IQ”.

      • @Hallsy4

        To me, puck mover is often used to describe someone who isn’t that physical, isn’t a defensive defenseman, doesn’t put up a lot of points as an offensive defenseman, isn’t that big, etc etc, but who still visually looks pretty good out there. Puck transporter just blows my mind.

        • RJ

          It would be useful to see how his controlled zone exits (aka “puck moving”) compare in relation to his team mates or versus current Oiler defencemen.

          The Oilers have too few defencemen who can manage controlled zone exits. I keep waiting for them to acquire a puck-moving defenceman that could hit a McDavid or Hall on the tape at full speed in the neutral zone. That would break down a lot of defensive systems.

      • @Hallsy4

        “Trade some of them”, said the silver fox. Peter sat in silence, reminiscing on his past. “The virtue of life is patience, whispered Peter, as he gazed deeply into the vast sky. “We will acquire the pieces we need when the time is right”, he thought to himself. “Let’s go to Moe’s, Todd”, Peter said to the fox, sensing his growing impatience.

    • McBagid67

      It’s true, we need to be looking at an all around good D man. Strong in his own zone, strong on the power play, great at moving the puck. After a poor start in the cup finals, maybe we could get a guy like Brent Burns? I’m thinking Yakupov going the other way. Clearly the Sharks need more scoring, could work well for both teams. Maybe RNH instead, but I’d want at least a 2nd rounder with Burns if it’s him.

      What do you guys think?

      • Nugent-Bagkins93

        Couldn’t agree with you more. If RNH is on the market, maybe we could package him for a top tier D-man. I’m thinking RNH plus 4th overall for Ekman-Larsson? Or maybe Subban? Burns would be nice too, but wouldn’t want to overpay.

        Also great name! I’m assuming you we once a bag on head fan like me!

        • McRaj

          That is a package which could in reality work. Because with the 4th, Yotes could draft Tkachuk and then with their 7th pick, they could take Chychrun to develop him into their OEL replacement. They would add nuge to play on their first line and shelter Strome and Hanzal would move to third line center.

          Then the Oilers could try to move a left shot D man for a top pairing right shot and the team improves immensely.

          • @Hallsy4

            I don’t agree with this. Yes it would be nice to keep Nuge, but the Oil desperately need to improve the D core. McDavid and Drai aren’t just 2 inexperienced kids. McDavid will be one of the best players in the World next season without a doubt, and Drai/Hall and X is a good line for a lot of years to come. They are not 2 normal rookies. That leaves Nuge as 3rd line or else moved to wing and fill in center when necessary. Great problem to have depth at center, but if we keep depth at center and have a terrible D core we will finish near the bottom again. We have no depth at RW once Yak is gone. I’d like to trade Ebs but I don’t know who we’d replace him with. Trading Yak and Pou won’t address our D problem in a big enough way, they don’t have enough value, so unfortunately Nuge is probably the likeliest to be traded, depending on free agency (Okposo).

          • yeah, but trading Nuge immediately causes a loss of depth at center, not to mention the fact that right now he’s probably perceived as a 3rd line center coming off a down year, so is he really going to get the defenseman we all want? Keep him, try to sign one or 2 of the UFA d’men out there, and hope, or expect Davidson, Nurse, and Klefbom to have a significant step up this year.

          • Lucius Vorenus

            I don’t think the Nuge should be part of any trade. If McDavid or Drai go down with an injury, we will have no one with any skill to replace it in the lineup. We would end up in the someplace in the standing. Yes an upgrade in the D core is important but the trade needs to be somewhat risk adverse. IMO trading one of your top centers is not a good idea.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Goligoski is one of the UFA d-men i have had my eye on for the Oilers for a long time and i’d like to see the Oilers make a strong offer to regardless of which side of the ice he plays. if we don’t get someone else other than Sekera that can move the puck out and produce points from the back end, we simply aren’t going to win anytime soon!

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        Sorry did you not read my quote properly? i believe i said the following….”i’d like to see the Oilers make a strong offer to regardless of which side of the ice he plays”….

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            who said anything about “getting rid of” Klefbom? and my point was Goligoski has extra value in that he never seems to be injured. so we can add that to defensively sound and offensively gifted. it’s not written in stone that we have to go into this season with as inexperienced LD as we had last year and if a good experienced vet like Goligoski comes in and takes a LD job away from a guy like Davidson, oh well ! we fans wanted to get better sooner so acquiring more experience on the back end is one way to do it.

  • @Hallsy4

    “He is a good puck mover and a good puck transporter.” -Scout 1
    “He’s a puck mover….who can moonlight in your first unit when necessary”
    – Scout 2

    In summary, Goligoski is a puck transporter who moonlights in the first unit.

    What a time to be alive.

    • @Hallsy4

      The silver fox said calmly to Chia Peter, “We could use a puck transporter. Someone to man the 2nd unit, who can moonlight in the first unit, if need be.”

      Chia Peter, scratching his chin inventively, eventually realized that the trusted silver fox was in fact talking about hockey. “Goligoski”, he said, upon realizing that the silver fox was not having an out of body experience.

      The two sat in silence for a moment, gazing across the kingsway parking lot.

  • CLubhouse

    Hey Gregor,

    Liking these reports. Loving all your charity work!

    On an off topic do you think a trade with Winnipeg for trouba is a good idea?

    Maybe something like this to start the talks:

    EDM: Hall, 4th pick
    WPG: Trouba, 2nd pick

    I think theres a decent balance there and solves many of WPG potential problems. Plus they most likely would get to draft Tchuk a home town favorites son.

    • Moe Sizzlack

      At first I thought your crazy, then I thought about it ..

      If Winnipeg would do it then so would I ..

      Laine is bigger, shoots right and replaces Hall..

      It subtracts Halls contract/salary cap …

      Trouba shoots right and is a young solid two way Dman who can hit and score ..

      And if jets got Hall the smart thing for them to do would be to take Chychrun and give him time to develop while Buff and Myers age …

  • freelancer

    X factor in all of this could be the expansion draft. I wouldn’t be against signing a guy like goligoski and then not protect him when that time comes.

    Sekera can play the right side you acquire one more top 4 right shot and Klefbom doesn’t have to be your top guy.

    • madjam

      There will be several players of that ilk , and teams hoping to dump some big salaries come expansion . The new teams might not want him if their budgets are full with perhaps better choices . No guarantee he’ll go .

  • TKB2677

    Goligoski is a pretty good player. Too bad he’s not right handed.

    I’m a little surprised that Dallas seems to be willing to let all of these dmen go. Based on Gregors interview, it sounds like maybe Goligoski is the only one they sign. Demers and Russel are as good as gone. That’s a lot of experience gone all at once.

    • pkam

      The following are the top 5 Dallas defenseman in terms of TOI/GP.

      Kris Russell – 5′ 10″ | 170 lb.

      Alex Goligoski – 5′ 11″ | 185 lb.

      John Klingberg – 6′ 2″ | 180 lb.

      Jason Demers – 6′ 1″ | 200 lb.

      Johnny Oduya – 6′ 0″ | 195 lb.

      Average – 6′ 0″ | 186 lb.

      Do you think you can win with this group of defensemen, not to mention the Dallas is in the West? Do you think you need to add some size to this group of defensemen? How do you add more size if you re-sign them all?

  • moosewacker

    Rather have Justin Faulk, even if it costs Nuge in a package. Hard to see a team trading their #1 Dman, but they don’t have a #1 center either and do have Hanifin.

    • McRaj

      Careful what you say. A few posters think Nuge is worth more than Faulk. They think that a top pairing D would not improve the team and losing Nuge would make us worse.

      In Seriousness though, I completely agree. If we were to get a Faulk, then we could add a secondary D Man like Vatanen or Demers at lower costs to round out our D. Imagine Faulk playing 25 minutes a night for us getting the puck to McDavid or Hall going at full speed.

  • Oiler fan in Dallas

    Living in Dallas I have had the chance to watch Alex play alot. He was far better this year than in previous when the locals called him Alex “goal-against-me”. I made the comment many times before this season that he looked like an Oiler “D” man…slightly below average at best. But like I said this last year was better. Dallas has problems on the blue line just as we do. It is one thing to get a “D” man from a team that is strong defensively and looking to get forwards but getting a “D” man from a team that struggles defensively…questionable.

  • madjam

    I think it safe to assume that whomever we get their overall numbers will drastically plummet here , while our top scorers numbers and analytics will drastically improve elsewhere , just like in the case of Jones and Johanssen’s trade did.

    • McRaj

      A top pairing D-Man’s production would not fall here and our forwards production would increase with someone to get them the puck (look at the difference of Hall and Drai with and without Klefbom). I do agree though that our top scorers numbers would increase somewhere else if they have Top End D to get them the puck.

      As for Jones and Johanssen trade, poor example since I have statistically proved you to be incorrect. You can go reference my comments on the Nuge interview posting by Gregor.

      • madjam

        No you did not . You misused and over assumed team stats , instead of individual stats that prove you wrong in your flawed summation . Jones drastically reduced while Johanssen drastically improved . Your team stats are not the same as individual stats .

          • madjam

            For the second time please read the article over . For someone such a stickler for analytics why don’t you use the analytics from Sports quotient article on the trade to try and back up your assumption , as yours is wrong sorry to say as is your assumptions . Thanks for the talk anyways .

          • McRaj

            I hope that you are not referencing the article that was written one month after the trade (in february) where as the season did not end for another 2 months after. I’m sorry but I’ve proven you wrong using evidence from the whole season pre and post trade for individuals and the tram. Your counter argument relies on an article that was written one month after the trade which would not encompass the entire season.

            Also I like how you kept saying johansen numbers dramatically increased while jones decreased but when I showed you how incorrect you were, you totally decided to ignore that part of my comment.

  • Smitt4life

    All about Faulk. He is the RHD we need. Great player great cap hit. What about trying to trade Sekera to Arizona for Stone and strome. I like sekera but hate his cap hit. Would open a spot up for LHD. Fowler could be a stop gap as Nurse and Davidson progress. Might cost us yak or pouliot. What would it take to pry savard fro Columbus?

  • McBagid67


    Let’s refocus. With the 4th pick in this talent full draft, we should be going after a better defender, a player player like Drew Doughty.

    What do you guys think?

  • This.Is.NHL

    I hate how so called fans keep puting down our defense all the time, in fact I think their not fans at all. With the coaching staff just this year our defensive game has jumped light years ahead with improvement compared to previous years. having an all brand name defense isn’t going to make you better team just look at Calgary, to me I think we’re on the right track Shiltz is gone from taking top minutes and other players are stepping up things are looking good.

    I would use the 4th pick in a trade all day every day until we’re a top team in the NHL that needs drafts. All I here is how our players won’t get use anything so what’s going to be the difference with the 4th pick in a few years.

  • camdog

    If one thing I’ve learned watching the Pens play in these Stanley Cup Playoffs , it’s that if the forwards play their position on the wall and win the battles on the boards, your defenceman all look a lot better.

  • @Hallsy4

    I don’t want to trade baby Nuge either. I wouldn’t be crushed to see him go but I agree that his value is low right now, and he would help any team, including ours. I just don’t like the idea of going into next year with basically the same team….. I don’t know how much value ebs has… some for sure, but I don’t know if a team that wants ebs will be willing to give up the top D man we need for him. And again, I don’t know what the plan is on the right side if he’s gone. I do think people (me included) forget how Nuge is only 22 (?) and could still improve drastically, as lots of players would still be playing college hockey at his age. It would have been nice to have this situation 5 years ago, but unfortunately 10 years out of playoffs I think the clock is ticking on everyone around the organization, as this can’t continue. One of Ebs/Nuge or the 4th at minimum I think will certainly be traded, personally, I think it would help the team most to trade 2 or all 3, as well as Yak and Pou. We might have to lose a trade or two slighly on paper to improve our team for now and in the future. We can’t afford signing more Sekera like D men for Sekera like money, and this team does need a shakeup. We won’t win the cup with the old core all here, and we might not even make the playoffs.

  • Kurt

    “He’s right there among the top echelon of offensive defensemen. But that minus-16 suggests that you have to take the good with the bad with Barrie, who is playing a second-pairing role, but doesn’t have the frame to defend the league’s bigger forwards…He’s prone to turn the puck over in the defensive end or neutral zone… Barrie is a highly sought offensive defenseman/power-play specialist who might be better served in a third-pairing role, playing 16-18 minutes per game as opposed to 22-26. But he’s still young and developing, and there’s no question he can evolve into a top-pair defenseman of the Kris Letang mold.”-Mike Chambers of the Denver Post of Tyson Barrie.

    Seems a lot like theyre talking about Justin Schultz (not point production, but how they talk good/bad and potential ceilng.) Maybe if Shultz was developed better in his pro years, he would be an equivalent to Barrie.