Veteran defenseman Alex Goligoski is going home – and being well-compensated to do so. The Grand Rapids, Minnesota native, who turns 36 on Friday, has signed a one-year, $5MM contract with the Minnesota Wild. Goligoski will replace the experience, leadership, and stable presence of Ryan Suter on the left side of the Wild blue line.
There might not be a more natural fit in free agency than Goligoski heading to his hometown team to take over as a veteran leader in place of Suter. Even at his age, Goligoski continued to play massive minutes, provide stout defense, and contribute about 30 points a year over the last few years with the Arizona Coyotes. He has showed no signs of slowing down and there is no reason to believe that he won’t keep producing, especially joining a deeper and more talented roster in Minnesota.
The contract is a bit strange, but not unreasonable. Goligoski had a $5.475MM AAV on his contract in Arizona, making the value of his one-year pact very similar. However, Goligoski was eligible for performance bonuses, which could have helped the club keep his cap hit lower. Goligoski also could have negotiated another year or two of term give his consistency, which also may have resulted in a lower AAV, but opted for just the one year. Goligoski is still more affordable than what what Suter was scheduled to make, but it does no favors for the Wild’s salary cap situation.