If you can’t move the puck, you’re not going to be very successful in the NHL.
In the end, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup with a defense corps that may have lacked in the intimidation department, but they could sure get that puck going.
And that right there is why the Coyotes have targeted Alex Goligoski, going so far as to send the Stars a fifth-round draft pick for the privilege of exclusively negotiating with the pending UFA blue-liner.
“I think he’s the perfect fit for our team with where we’re at with our young group of forwards,” new GM John Chayka said, per NHL.com. “They need someone who plays the new age of defense, which is transition to offense and getting the puck up to our forwards and joining the rush and supporting the attack.”
Yes, blocking shots, winning battles along the wall, and clearing the front of the net is still important. If you’re a defensive liability, if you’re all over the map in your own end, if you’re soft in one-on-ones, you can’t be out there. Or, at the very least you have to be sheltered (see: Justin Schultz). But the best teams have d-men that can start the attack quickly, then jump up and get involved. And the tactics they employ encourage it.
Not sold yet?
OK, consider the last three Stanley Cup-winning goals:
2016, starring Kris Letang
2015, starring Duncan Keith
2014, starring Alec Martinez
What a coincidence!
Chayka said of Goligoski, “He’s a very versatile player that our coaching staff would really enjoy.”
The Coyotes better put on quite the sell job, because a few other coaching staffs would enjoy him, too.
Related: ‘They play so slow’