Tag: Ales Kotalik

John Carlson, Tim Thomas

PHT Morning Skate: Where John Carlson still doesn’t have a contract


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Caps young defenseman John Carlson is an RFA and he still doesn’t have a new contract. Might be time to change that, eh George McPhee? (CSNWashington.com)

Former linesman Dan Schachte has a new job as the head of officials for Hockey East, a role former ref Paul Stewart has in the ECAC. (USCHO)

Ales Kotalik is staying in the Czech Republic after signing a new deal with Budejovice. (Hokej.cz)

Meanwhile, Caps prospect Filip Forsberg had three points in Sweden’s 8-2 win over Finland in Lake Placid at the World Junior Evaluation Camp. (CSNWashington.com)

You could say Hockey Wilderness is not a fan of advanced statistics. That’s putting it lightly. (Hockey Wilderness)

The Oilers are trying to develop power forwards on their own. Maybe they can send Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle to the weight room. (Edmonton Journal)

St. Louis is shuffling things up with their front office. (Post-Dispatch)

Edmonton columnist revisits Pronger trade, confirms Oilers made out well

Pronger Edmonton

The Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones — a recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee — wrote an interesting piece revisiting Edmonton’s 2006 Chris Pronger-to-Anaheim deal.

Then-Oilers GM Kevin Lowe flipped Pronger to the Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Anaheim’s first-round pick in 2007, a conditional first-round pick and a second-round pick in 2008.

Here’s how it all panned out:

Smid: “This year, the defenseman the Oilers believed would develop into a major-minutes, total-pro top-four defenseman who came out of that deal,” Jones writres. “Ladislav Smid appears to have finally become.”

Lupul: Edmonton traded Lupul to Philly (with Jason Smith) for Joni Pitkanen, Geoff Sanderson and a 2008 third-round pick. Sanderson retired, the third-round pick was Cameron Abney and Pitkanen was traded for Erik Cole. Cole was turned into Patrick O’Sullivan (and a second round pick). O’Sullivan was turned into Jim Vandermeer and the second-round pick was turned into Ales Kotalik, neither of whom are with the team.

In short, Lupul became Abney.

2007 first-round pick: Traded (along with a second-round pick) to the Coyotes for their 21st overall selection, where the Oilers took Riley Nash. Nash was later traded to Carolina for Martin Marincin.

2008 Conditional pick: Because the Ducks made and won the Cup Final in 2007, the pick became a first rounder. Edmonton used it to select Jordan Eberle 22nd overall.

2008 second-round pick: Traded to the Isles for Allan Rourke and a third-round pick that originally belonged to the Oilers. That third round pick allowed Edmonton to offer-sheet Dustin Penner (Oilers had to compensate Anaheim with first-, second- and third-round picks, all of which had to be originals.)

Penner was then dealt for Colten Teubert, a 2011 first-round pick (Oscar Klefbom) and a third-rounder in 2012 than will become a second-rounder if LA makes the playoffs.

So what does it all mean in the end?

“Kevin Lowe traded Chris Pronger for Jordan Eberle, Ladislav Smid, Colten Teubert, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom, Cameron Abney and a player to be determined,” Jones writes. “Helluva deal.”

In retrospect, maybe. But one wonders if Edmonton isn’t kicking itself for the questionable Nash selection (taken ahead of Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Blum and David Perron) and getting so little out of Lupul.

Sabres welcomed to life under the salary cap by sending Kotalik and Morrisonn to AHL

Ales Kotalik

In the current NHL, teams that spend a bit too much in the offseason and find their salary cap situation to be problematic. The Blackhawks had that problem last summer and this time around it was the Buffalo Sabres who found themselves above the fold after owner Terry Pegula shelled out the big bucks to get Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino into town.

Rather than do things the way Chicago did it by dealing away valuable players making slightly unmanageable salaries, the Sabres took the route most traveled by teams looking to get under the cap: Sending guys to the AHL.

Ales Kotalik and Shaone Morrisonn, making a combined $5.075 million against the salary cap, will be starting their seasons in Rochester with the Americans rather than in Buffalo with the Sabres. It’s all because their salaries are a bit too much for the Sabres to manage. Kotalik and Morrisonn are both potentially useful players, although not premiere players, and could be a good fit in Buffalo (or anywhere else in need of a part-time scorer or physical defenseman) but their cost to play is too rich for anyone’s blood.

While no one is going to feel bad for guys making $3 million (Kotalik) or $2.075 million (Morrisonn) to play hockey anywhere, being priced out of the NHL is part of the harsh reality of life in the NHL. Players are more than entitled to get whatever an owner wishes to pay them to play, but when their play gets matched or exceeded by players making less money, those are the breaks. Just ask Wade Redden of the New York Rangers about that.

source: Getty ImagesThe Rangers gave Redden a monster free agent contract and now he’s likely doomed to stay in Hartford until his deal runs out because his cap hit is obscenely high for the kind of play he brings. Does that make Redden a bad player? Not at all, he’s just not worth it at the cost that comes to the Rangers against the salary cap. Same goes for Chicago and Cristobal Huet.

While this is how life goes in the NHL these days and this is how teams can sidestep financial missteps, there’s just something that feels cheap about being able to cover up financial errors like this. The hopes that teams below the salary floor would be there to absorb those mistakes have, for the most part, not happened. Teams like the Islanders, Coyotes, Jets, and Predators all found alternative ways to go about business without taking on a potentially brutal contract.

Last season the New Jersey Devils ran into cap issues and tried to find a new home for Brian Rolston. Rolston came with a $5.062 million cap hit and for two seasons at that amount, there weren’t any buyers. When this summer rolled around and Rolston was entering the final year of his deal, however, the Islanders happily swooped in and traded for the 38 year-old winger to help bring themselves to the salary floor.

Guys like Morrisonn and Kotalik are in the final year of their contracts and while that can prove to be motivation to earn a new deal, they’ll have to show they can bring it big in the AHL to hopefully get moved to another team that has a need.  Having to prove yourself in the AHL when you’re an NHL-caliber player makes the task seem Sisyphus-like when the boulder you’re pushing uphill is a salary that most teams can’t bear to have.

40 players put on waivers; Sabres plan to get under salary cap becomes evident

Shaone Morrisonn
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It’s an inevitable part of training camp when players are released, cut, or waived. Today, 40 players were placed on waivers by 11 different teams. Among the notable names are two guys who are necessary for their teams to stay under the salary cap in Chicago’s Cristobal Huet and New York Rangers’ Wade Redden. With those players waived, Huet will head back to Europe to play while Redden is destined for the AHL.

A pair of names from Buffalo that landed on the waiver wire were forward Ales Kotalik and defenseman Shaone Morrisonn. The Sabres are currently over the salary cap by more than $3.5 million according to CapGeek.com. By putting Kotalik and Morrisonn on waivers with the purpose of sending them to the AHL and get their salaries off the books, they’ll free up $5.075 million.

Kotalik has a cap hit of $3 million while Morrisonn is set in at $2.075 million. Life in the NHL isn’t always fair and a spot in the big show is never guaranteed, especially when your job can be done by someone with a much lower cap hit. In Morrisonn’s case, his spot on the blue line can be taken by either Mike Weber or Marc-Andre Gragnani. Kotalik’s spot at forward was the most flexible one to be taken as the Sabres have a host of younger players to fill their needs on the wings on their third and fourth lines.

Both Kotalik and Morrisonn came into training camp hoping to prove they could stick with the big team. With the cap crunch being as hard as it was for the Sabres, both players would’ve needed to show above and beyond in camp that they belong in the NHL. While they might’ve been doing that, getting their salaries off the cap and into the AHL makes too much sense for Buffalo. By dumping those two players into the AHL, the Sabres can now get under the cap by nearly $1.5 million. It might not be great business, but it’s how life is with the cap.

To see the full list of those who were waived today, TSN has the full list.

Can Ales Kotalik force his way into Buffalo’s starting lineup?

Ales Kotalik

The Buffalo Sabres started off training camp in a peculiar and rather odd situation for them. The Sabres were usually good for a few different battles for starting jobs in camp with the exception always being in goal where Ryan Miller is the man. At forward and on defense things would always be a bit more intense. Things at forward this time around are virtually already taken care of.

With camp kicking off in earnest yesterday, the Sabres started things off with 11 of the 12 starting forward spots already spoken for, newly acquired one-time Sabres forward Ales Kotalik is part of a group of four fighting it out for the final spot. While Kotalik was once a useful Sabres forward excelling at adding offense on the power play and being good for 20-25 goals a year, he’s got a lot of competition this time around.

John Vogl of The Buffalo News breaks down the Sabres battle for the 12th man spot in the lineup with Kotalik.

Kotalik, acquired in a trade with Calgary following a season spent mostly injured or in the minors, figures to spend training camp in a four-way competition for a roster spot. With 11 forward spots all but locked up — centers Derek Roy, Ville Leino, Paul Gaustad and Jochen Hecht; right wings Jason Pominville, Drew Stafford, Patrick Kaleta and Brad Boyes; and left wings Tyler Ennis, Nathan Gerbe and Vanek — the last remaining starting job could come down to Kotalik, Cody McCormick, Matt Ellis or Luke Adam, with the second-place finisher sticking in a reserve role.

“I’ve got to believe in myself. I hope that I will be on this team and I feel I will do good things for this team,” said Kotalik, who will continue to carry his loss but will also carry on. “You just want to enjoy spending time, having fun, because you never know what can happen.”

One starting spot and one reserve spot should mean that Kotalik has a great shot to at least wind up on the opening night roster. In an ideal non-salary cap world that’s likely that would happen. Unfortunately for Kotalik, his $3 million cap hit this season and the Sabres being over the cap, according to CapGeek.com, by over $3.5 million could be forcing Kotalik to have to be other-worldly in camp to win a spot.

Kotalik is used to this struggle after going through it last season in Calgary. The Flames were hard up against the cap and Kotalik became a cap casualty being sent down to the AHL to get his salary off the books. Injuries helped Kotalik get back to the NHL, but it’s a situation he’d rather not deal with. Unfortunately with this being a cap world, the number crunch could end up working against him again. If it comes down to it, moving Kotalik and his cap hit to the AHL would make the Sabres’ financial decisions easier to make.

Of course, Kotalik can have a say in all this by tapping into how he used to play in Buffalo early on in his career and getting coach Lindy Ruff to believe in him all over again. Buffalo doesn’t have a shortage of offensive weapons in their starting lineup, but if Kotalik and his big shot on the power play can help make them stronger contenders, they’ll find a way to make it work. That amount of work might be too much for Kotalik to do at this point in his career.