Goligoski skips Minnesota; signs with Pens

The WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, Alex Golgoski, has decided to skip the Golden Gophers and has signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.

The 21 year-old Goligoski earned the WCHA recognition as a Junior at the University of Minnesota, where he tied for third on his team in scoring with 39 points (9+30), while leading in assists and playing all 44 games for Minnesota. Goligoski also ranked first in defenseman scoring in the WCHA and second in the nation. He also ranked first among defenseman in points per game in the WCHA and fifth in the nation (0.89). Overall, Goligoski has scored 98 points (25+73) in 117 games in 3 seasons as a Golden Gopher and has earned several All-American honors.

The Penguins drafted Goligoski while still in high school, as much surprise to most at the time, in the 2nd round of the 2004 draft (61st overall). The 6-foot, 187 lb defenseman is happy to have signed with the Penguins organization, even though he would have wanted to help his Alma Mater earn an NCAA championship. “I would have loved to have finished my degree and there is a very good situation here at the University of Minnesota. But, at the same time, I came to the University of Minnesota to play hockey, really. My ultimate goal is to play hockey for as long as I can. It was the right move on my part, as far as hockey development. I am really excited to get in there and start learning from the guys and coaches and take that next step.” Goligoski added that “That’s exactly what it was – two great situations” and volunteered that “I think, at the end of the day, it’s what I need to do for my hockey development. I am ready for something new, in that sense. I am just really excited to get down there and meet everyone and get everything going.

Goligoski is not expected to make the NHL club yet, and most estimate he might be one to two years away from making the club.

This is basically the last blue-chipper left in the Penguins organization who is not yet in the NHL, albeit Kristopher Letang who is widely expected to make the NHL club this season. Unless some of the Penguins defensive assets are traded, in a short time the Penguins could have their blue line full of extremely good players in their niche in Gonchar, Whitney, Letang, and Goligoski. All after having traded Noah Welch to the Florida Panthers for Gary Roberts. If the Penguins would have been able to keep Welch, and develop Letang and Goligoski while joining Gonchar, Orpik, and Whitney, the blue-line could have developed into a force to recon with, on top of having to already deal with Crosby, Staal, and Malkin on offense, and Fleury guarding the twine. I expect some trades in the not so distant future from Ray Shero and the Penguins, using some of these assets in order to fill the void for a real bona fide scoring winger who can put up 35+ goals on his own, without accounting for the positive effect the Penguins slew of star centers will surely add to that offensive ability.

A more in-depth press release can be read by clicking HERE at PittsburghPenguins.com

8 Responses to Goligoski skips Minnesota; signs with Pens

  1. FlyerzFan12 says:

    If I was the Penguins my next move would still be to get a solid, defensive defenseman to man the blue lines to allow Gonchar and Whitney to join the rush even more frequently knowing that at least one man is always back.  Andy Sutton is still available isn't he?

  2. ace5135 says:

    Why wouldn't you want to skip school to be part of this young, exciting team.  I am sure that a steady NHL paycheck factored into his consideration.

    I do beleive that Sutton is still available and your be a great addition.

  3. papichulo71 says:

    I predict the Pens will pick up Rob Blake at the deadline.  Their D will make it through 3/4 of the season.  Save the cap room for the deadline.

  4. gronk says:

    goligoski makes the pens blue line that much scarier.  in a year or 2 pens scoring from the blueline is gonna be deadly.

    i think the pens will only sign 1 or 2 more role players such as mike johnson.  they should dump malone via trade because he really doesn't fit in anywhere on this team.  they'll save the rest for the deadline.

  5. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    The Pens are too oriented toward offense to win in this league. You can't just roll Sid, Malkin and Stall out there and expect to beat the Flyers (last year you sure could), Rangers and Devils all year long.

    I can't belive this team isn't after players like Jason Smith. Even (when not hurt) the likes of a Mike Rathje would help them. Guys that keep the puck out of the net. Reghyr comes to mind. Players like that. Stay at home moms. The Pens have the O to win any game they want. They need to keep the puck out of their own net to win.
    Lastly, name all of the star d-men of the last 5 years. Short list hunh? This kid might be good. Same for Letang or Jack Johnson but until he proves it at the NHL level for more than a year – don't get too amped up. 
  6. kamullia says:

    While it is true that the Penguins could use and need another defensive defenseman, it is highly erroneous to underestimate the effect of overflow of offense from the the blue-line. And regardless of all the forward offense which you focused on, the Penguins actually need more help in scoring from their forwards (in specific their wings). It is still up for debate if Petr Sykora will alleviate that need. But in the end, more offense for the Penguins was needed, as evidence of their lack of scoring from any position in the playoffs, against the Ottawa Senators. And even though having scoring coming from your forwards is more preferable than it coming from your defensemen, it is not something to turn your back on.

    The Penguins already have the #2 and #6 highest scoring defensemen from last season returning. To put that in offensive perspective, the Stanley Cup Champions Anaheim Ducks blue-line combination of Pronger and Niedermayer combined for only two more points than the Gonchar-Whitney tandem. And that is a surefire combination to begin with. This year, they are almost 100% positive to add Kristopher Letang, who not only is good offensively, but has proven to be just as good defensively.

    Simply put, Letang has a very well suited all-around game, and he is deemed NHL ready by the vast majority of the analysts. Adding to the help, Letang is a fantastic skater, which puts in serious doubt if there is anyone in the league capable of pulling away from him on the ice. To top it all off, he is a right-handed shooter, which the Penguins sorely lacked, giving them more freedom from the blue-line. The only caveat is that he is a rookie, but a rookie with 7 games of experience in which he fared well overall, but he is still a rookie. In short, unless Kristopher Letang succumbs to nerves or jitters, he will immensely help the Pittsburgh blue-line as is. I personally would have made a different choice to compliment this core, than an already aged used-to-be offensive-minded Darryl Sydor, but the combination of the 4 should mean a much higher output from the Penguins power-play, which has proven in two years to be extremely important due to the new interpretation of the NHL infractions. You have to be good in the power-play to make the playoffs, and the more the better for that matter.

    Goligoski adds to all of this. You have to understand that I have yet to hear one single analyst or expert say that Alex Goligoski’s offensive game has not been for a while NHL ready. The kid is that good offensively, and is very responsible defensively. Now, unlike Letang, his defensive abilities are not universally considered NHL-ready, but I will say that there is a smaller portion, even in the Penguins organization, who think he actually is ready on the defensive side also. But I am certain that barring an absolutely incredible showing in camp at both ends, the Penguins will be prudent and send Goligoski to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, even if they keep him on a short call-up leash.

    In the end, there is two points to this article to take close attention to:

    1. Goligoski is another blue-chipper asset added to the organization. This does not mean he will ever play for the Pittsburgh Penguins. But as an asset, it means that if they do not play him, they surely could trade him and improve the team in that sense, just like they did with Noah Welch (I still think it was a mistake to trade him). And because he is esteemed as such high-caliber talent, and has proven to be reason to deem him such in Minnesota after having been drafted, means the return the Penguins would receive for him should be expected as a high-caliber one or a good combination of players.
    2. If the combination of young defenseman they are holding on to and Gonchar, comes to fruition. It is impossible to ignore the effect it will have in creating further offense overall. An opposing coach would dread the date on the calendar when his team has to face the Pittsburgh Penguins, because even if they remained at the same level of devensive capabilities (which they have not), the session to come up with a game plan to cover all the offensive weapons the Penguins will list on game-day, will surely bring nightmares to many coaches’ sleep.

    In the end, for a team who many are predicting (even though I do not agree) will be one to end the regular on top of the Eastern Conference before the news, this is nothing but even better news. You could say that for the not-so-distant future of these young Penguins, that only the Cup is the limit.

  7. gronk says:

    the new nhl is all about speed and skill.  eventhough i agree that they could use another great defensive defenseman (as well as a top 6 forward), it is ridiculous to say that they can't beat the other teams in their division when they had a worse defense last year and still competed with everyteam every night.  i agree with kamullia that they need more scoring from the wings…..and get rid of malone. 

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