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Goligoski, Doan point to Coyotes’ bright future

Dallas Stars' Alex Goligoski (33) tries to clear the puck from behind the net as Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) tries to gain control during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Mike Stone)

LISTEN: Alex Goligoski, New Coyotes' Defenseman

Alex Goligoski is now a member of the Arizona Coyotes, and Shane Doan’s optimism for the team may have helped make that happen.

Goligoski, a 30-year-old defenseman with nine years in the NHL, told Burns & Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Wednesday that he had dinner with the long-time captain before signing his five-year, $27.375 million deal.

“You could just tell the excitement (Doan) had in his voice and you could see it in his eyes,” Goligoski said. “He’s really excited about where this team is going. I think for him, he felt really invigorated by the young guys coming in.”

Goligoski didn’t mention anyone by name, but those young players could be returning sophomores, including Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, as well as prospects hopeful of making the team. Dylan Strome, the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft, could be on his way to making his first NHL team.

Last year, Strome was hopeful of earning a roster spot on the Coyotes in his first year in the organization. Now, after a season in which he put up 37 goals in 56 games, the Erie Otters (OHL) center could be developed enough to break through to an NHL squad.

Domi (18 goals, 34 assists) and Anthony Duclair (20 goals, 24 assists), both of whom played their first full NHL season for Arizona last year and were teammates on the Canadian World Juniors team, provide speed and scoring prowess on the top lines. They’ll be back to join Doan (contract pending) and Goligoski as part of a balanced system of youth and veteran leadership.

Nine-year veteran center Martin Hanzal, former Stanley Cup champion Antoine Vermette and elite offensive defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will return as well. With the Coyotes’ healthy mix of vets and promising youngsters, Goligoski said he was satisfied with where the front office was taking the organization.

“Meeting all the people and just seeing their vision for where they think they’re going to be and their plan, it was an easy decision for me,” he said.

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