When Alex Goligoski signed with the Minnesota Wild last summer, it was seen as a significant homecoming for the Grand Rapids, Minn. native and someone that can help fill in the hole left by Ryan Suter’s departure. There was reportedly a handshake deal on the table that they would sign a one-year contract with a higher-than-expected cap hit, to then sign a more team-friendly multi-year deal as an extension.
Well, just before the NHL Trade Deadline, it was also reported that the team doesn’t see him in their future anymore, having traded for Jacob Middleton from the San Jose Sharks, and they will not be trying to re-sign the 36-year-old defenseman. That was proven to be wrong on Tuesday afternoon, as The Athletic’s Michael Russo confirmed a report from Kevin Weekes that the Wild are on the brink of bringing Goligoski back for two more years.
Goligoski was a healthy scratch against the Colorado Avalanche and will be on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers as well. Apparently, this is just to give the elderly blueliner some rest, so who truly knows — but it is generally weird signing a defenseman on for two more years after finding out he needs a couple games off just to catch his breath.
With Goligoski (almost) signed, that means the Wild will have six defenseman locked up next season. All of Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Dmitry Kulikov, and Jon Merrill have at least one more year left on their deals; with Dumba and Kulikov set to become unrestricted free agents in 2023. Obviously, Middleton is here as well and is going to be a restricted free agent this summer, so add another name to the jumbled mess that has suddenly become Minnesota’s core of NHL defensemen.
With all those experienced names in the pile, something just has to give. Let alone the fact that Calen Addison is down in AHL Iowa trying to show that he’s worthy of a spot — and he certainly has looked the part in his stints up in Minnesota. It just feels like a little too much at this time, but we do we know?
Will this mean the Dumba trade will actually happen this summer? Is Kulikov going to lose his job after starting off the season exceptionally well? Is Merrill just going to live out the three years remaining on his deal as a seventh defenseman?
This reported extension certainly provides more questions than answers.
It is now official. A two-year, $4-million contract extension for the experienced blueliner.