As the February 28th trade deadline is fast approaching, a new name is among the Penguins list of untouchables, at least for this season.
According to sources with knowledge of the Penguins thinking process, the team will not make Goligoski available under any circumstances in regards to the upcoming trade deadline.
Although Goligoski is often seen as the Penguins biggest trading chip when it comes to bringing in potential winger help, the Penguins deciding to not at least gauge Goligoski’s trade value is not a surprise by any means to those in the know.
Any teams inquiring about Goligoski have been told that by Pens management that he isn’t available and won’t be, sources say.
The Penguins have built themselves this season around their blueline and while Goligoski is the Penguins No. 5 defenseman, management values Goligoski’s impact just as much as some members of the top-4.
The Penguins are not going to risk messing with their top-5 and downgrade at the position.
Goligoski, 25, has one year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $1.83 million. He is a restricted free agent following the 2011-2012 season.
The Penguins have all 7 defensemen signed for next season. The team currently has $52.325 million committed to 15 players next season.
The Penguins are extremely deep on their blueline at the NHL level and in their system.
2009 1st round pick Simon Despres projects to make a run at a roster spot next season but management will want him to play top pairing minutes so he’ll play next season in Wilkes Barre.
The two intriguing prospects are defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Brian Strait. In eyes of some high ranking members of the organization, both players could contribute at the NHL level right now and will surely be NHL capable defensemen by next season.
Pittsburgh has an interesting situation ahead of them in the future but this is a team that is built to win now and Goligoski is safe for now.