A Minnesota boy drafted in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Goligoski has had a long hockey career that includes a successful run to the Cup in 2009 with the Penguins. The 2023-24 season will be his 16th full season in the league. He’s played for the Penguins, the Dallas Stars, the Arizona Coyotes, and the Minnesota Wild. While there are plenty of good defensive prospects coming up the pipeline, Goligoski still has some hockey left in him.
Benched on and off last season, Goligoski ended up playing only 46 games. Not as much of a minute muncher as earlier in his career, he still managed an average of 17:40 TOI per game that he played. The biggest storyline from last season for Goligoski, however, was the game that celebrated his 1000th NHL game. Playing against the Carolina Hurricanes, the game went into overtime. In a moment that seemed to be straight out of a movie, Goligoski scored in overtime and ended up the hero of the game. Watch it below a few times and relive the incredible moment.
Goligoski is an experienced defenseman who still plays with speed and high hockey smarts despite his age. He’s been skating on the Wild’s third pairing but can still eat up a good chunk of minutes when the team needs him to. Goligoski didn’t play often last year, but not by his choice. Watching him in Da Beauty League (a charity hockey league for professional hockey players) this summer, Goligoski easily kept up with other NHL players.
Most would say age, but Goligoski has no trouble playing at an NHL pace at the age of 38. The weakness is probably due more to “aging out” than being pushed out because of physicality. The Wild have lots of good defensive prospects, and there will need to be room for them soon. As much as Goligoski wants to keep playing on a regular basis, he might find himself as a healthy scratch like last year.
Goligoski will most likely be rotating on the third pairing with Jon Merrill. They would both play beside Calen Addison. The only hitch is that, as of right now, Addison is unsigned. As talked about in this story, Addison doesn’t really have any other choices besides signing with the Wild but will need to sign before training camp. If next season is Goligoski’s last season, hopefully he will get a sufficient amount of ice time.