Think that's what angers me the most. To have GMs come out after the fact and say they didn't even know he was available is unreal to me.
Yep that's the problem. If he shopped him around, I bet we could have got someone better than Goligoski. Nieuwendyk pulled the trigger way too fast and I bet he knows that. I would wager that Pittsburgh said the offer was only on the table for a day and he panicked.
Or it means Nieuwy was so in love with Goligoski that he pulled the trigger right away.
This is almost certainly what happened.
Neal wasn't "available". Nieuwendyk wasn't going to shop him around. Why would he?
He just wanted Goligoski, really badly. And he paid the price Shero asked. Shero probably said Neal for Goligoski straight up. And then Joe probably countered with Niskanen and Neal for Goligoski, since Niskanen had negative value at the time.