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Goligoski off to a frustrating start in Arizona

San Jose Sharks v Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 01: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks passes the puck under pressure from Alex Goligoski #33 of the Arizona Coyotes during the first period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on November 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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The Arizona Coyotes gave Alex Goligoski a hefty contract this offseason, because they felt he “plays the new age of defense,” i.e. he moves the puck well and has the ability to join the attack.

But it’s been a frustrating start for Goligoski with his new team. Though the 31-year-old does have six assists in 11 games, he’s also a team-worst minus-8, with some of the worst possession numbers in the league.

The fact the Coyotes are 4-7-0 doesn’t help either.

“Coming to a new team you want to come in and have an impact, be a good teammate and player and help the team get wins,” Goligoski told the Arizona Republic, “so it’s a little frustrating in the sense that we haven’t started out the way we wanted, or the way I wanted, but it’s a long season.”

Goligoski spent the last five seasons in Dallas, where the Stars are much farther along than the young Coyotes.

In Friday’s 5-1 loss to the Ducks, Arizona iced a lineup that featured an 18-year-old (Jakob Chychrun), two 19-year-olds (Lawson Crouse, Dylan Strome), a 20-year-old (Christian Dvorak), and two 21-year-olds (Max Domi, Anthony Duclair).

With all that youth, there are bound to be mistakes.

“He’s probably had to defend a lot more here in the last 11 games than he had to overall in Dallas,” said assistant coach Jim Playfair.

Excuses aside, the Coyotes need the Goligoski signing to work out. He’s under contract through 2020-21, for a cap hit of $5.475 million.

The hope is that the Coyotes will soon be able to play the type of hockey in which Goligoski can thrive, because being forced to defend the entire game is not his strong suit.