Many sports fans have a trade or an event that you just don’t mention, under any circumstances. For fans of the Dallas Stars, the James Neal-for–Alex Goligoski trade is one of the unmentionables.
Back in February of 2011, the Stars sent Neal and Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Goligoski. It was a trade that looked like it could work out for both sides, especially since the Stars needed defense. But it has been a winner for the Pens to this point, and it isn’t even close.
Neal has gone on to become a star with the Penguins, while Goligoski has been among the more frustrating players in the league, more so due to the fact that Neal is thriving in Pittsburgh. Goligoski has struggled with his consistency, both on the ice and on the stat sheet. Which led to him being a healthy scratch at one point in February.
Since that point, Goligoski has shown improvement in his game. He has 14 points on the season and is at an even plus/minus. His play in the defensive zone has been much better, and he’s getting pucks to the net. Even if he doesn’t have a single goal on the year, shots from the point set up scoring opportunities for the rest of the team. So he is making a positive impact.
There have been whispers of a potential Goligoski trade, along with the rest of the handful of veterans that the Stars could look to deal before this year’s deadline. Should the Stars look at dealing him, or make him a part of this slow rebuilding process taking place in Big D?
The obvious answer is to keep him around. He’s still only 27 and is signed for another three years. The Stars could very well be a contender in the Western Conference by then, and he’s going to be a big part of whatever they hope to accomplish in the next few years.