With the trade deadline now a month away, teams are starting to set their list of potential targets. For the Flyers, that list is believed to include Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski, reports Pierre LeBrun in his latest piece for The Athletic (subscription link).
That Philadelphia is looking to add help on the back end should come as no surprise. Matt Niskanen’s retirement came as a surprise last offseason and the team never really properly replaced that role. They added Erik Gustafsson but he is more of an offensive-minded blueliner with a much different skill set than what Niskanen brought to the table.
Goligoski isn’t quite the same type of player as Niskanen either but he’d be able to replace some elements, particularly on the penalty kill front. The 35-year-old is logging 3:25 per night on Arizona’s back end when shorthanded, second-most on the team. Considering that the Flyers have a success rate of 73.7% (25th in the league), adding someone that could conceivably jump onto their top penalty kill unit would be a nice addition.
However, Goligoski also isn’t someone who provides much in the way of offense like he used to. He has averaged 35 points over the last seven seasons but this year, he has just two assists in 26 games despite still logging over 22 minutes a night. He also carries a $5.475MM cap charge, something that the Flyers wouldn’t be able to afford right now without either sending money the other way or Arizona retaining some salary.
Those two factors will likely keep Goligoski’s trade value a little lower, presenting a situation where GM Chuck Fletcher could conceivably keep this on the back burner for the time being and turn back to it if more desirable options don’t pan out. But at the very least, something like this – a small upgrade on a back end that’s in need of improvement at a reasonable acquisition cost – is something that Philadelphia would be wise do to over the next month.