Stars’ defenseman Goligoski practices as forward on fourth line
To say the least, Dallas Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski has enjoyed a less-than-stellar start to the 2013-14 NHL season. Through eight games, he has 0 points and has a hideous -10 rating- dead last in the NHL. Not exactly what the Stars want from their second-highest paid defenseman (Goligoski rakes in about $4.6M/year. Really).
Admittedly, Goligoski has never been much of a “defensive” defenseman, but he’s usually produced a reasonable amount of offense to mitigate his own defensive shortcomings. However, with no points so far this season and still a regular amount of sub-par play from Goligoski in his own end, the Stars shifted Goligoski to forward for Wednesday’s practice.
Will the move be permanent? That’s not known right now. Perhaps it’s just a little something to wake Goligoski up and make him start playing better, or an attempt to salvage Goligoski as a player. Recently, we’ve seen blueliners like Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets and Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks switch from defense to forward, with reasonable success.
Dallas does have some high-end blueline prospects like Jamie Oleksiak and Kevin Connauton waiting in the wings, so if Goligoski can succeed at forward, perhaps one of the youngsters get inserted into the lineup at defenseman. And it’s not like Dallas’ bottom-six forward group has been so amazing that Goligoski can’t carve out a role for himself there- before last Sunday’s 6-3 loss to Anaheim, the Stars’ last two lines had not produced a single goal.
Perhaps Goligoski’s switch to forward is successful, and he stays there. Perhaps Goligoski returns to his old defenseman’s spot after this wake-up call, and picks up his game, and starts picking up points the way he did last season (27 in 48 games). Or maybe he fails in all regards, and is permanently replaced by Connauton or Oleksiak. There’s lots of possible outcomes here. Nothing’s certain, but this situation is worth paying attention to moving forward.