Here comes trouble … at least to training camp.
Patrick Kaleta received a professional tryout with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. That agreement also includes an AHL contract with the Rochester Americans.
The super-pest garnered at least some interest from around the league, but as something of a dying breed, he obviously couldn’t lock down an NHL contract.
He’ll instead need to turn/punch enough heads in Buffalo during the next few weeks to earn a spot. Going into the summer, that was a more likely proposition than it is today, as the Sabres have enjoyed arguably the most dramatic makeover of any team.
Buffalo may lean toward a deal that allows the 29-year-old to hop between the AHL and NHL in 2015-16, maybe bringing him in when injuries hit or donnybrooks are likely.
Winnipeg Jets’ pending unrestricted free agent Michael Frolik isn’t the only player who has taken advantage of the opportunity to speak with other teams.
The agent for Sabres’ pending UFA Patrick Kaleta tells PHT that he “talked to a number of teams” regarding the 29-year-old’s services.
Since Thursday teams have been allowed to have dialogue with other team’s pending UFAs leading into July 1.
Kaleta’s three-year, $3.75 million deal is set to expire on Wednesday.
“I know his preference is always to stay in Buffalo, he’s a local boy and he loves it there,” said Anton Thun. “At the end of the day he has to have a hockey career and if it’s not in Buffalo, then we’ll explore elsewhere.”
Due to injuries Kaleta has appeared in just 82 games total over the past three seasons.
Kaleta appeared in 42 games for the Sabres in 2014-15 registering three assists, a minus-11 rating and 36 penalty minutes while averaging just under nine minutes a night in ice time.
The agent for Patrick Kaleta and Sabres’ GM Tim Murray are expected to have contract talks this week.
Kaleta’s three-year, $3.75 million deal is set to expire next month.
Anton Thun tells PHT he hopes to have a better idea of where his client sits with the Sabres heading into the NHL Draft (June 26-27).
The 28-year-old appeared in just 82 games total over the past three seasons.
He missed much of the 2013-14 season after tearing his ACL in November 2013.
Kaleta then missed the start of the 2014-15 season after taking a puck to the face in the preseason.
He also missed time this season after undergoing surgery for his lower body injury.
Kaleta appeared in 42 games for the Sabres this season registering three assists, a minus-11 rating and 36 penalty minutes while averaging just under nine minutes a night in ice time.
Mikhail Grigorenko is back on his way to the bigs.
The Russian forward, Buffalo’s first-round pick (12th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has been recalled to the Sabres from AHL Rochester, the club announced on Tuesday.
Also headed up from the Amerks are forwards Tim Schaller and Jerry D’Amigo.
The trio has been brought up to replace Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell and Chris Stewart, all three of whom were traded at Monday’s deadline. Between those departures and the injuries to Josh Gorges, Zemgus Girgensons and Patrick Kaleta (Evander Kane too, lest we forget), Buffalo will be icing a forward group that projects to look like this:
Matt Moulson-Tyler Ennis-Brian Gionta
Marcus Foligno-Mikhail Grigorenko-Cody Hodgson
Johan Larsson-Phil Varone-Zac Dalpe
Nicolas Deslauriers-Schaller-Matt Ellis
D’Amigo would be the 13th forward, presumably.
As for Grigorenko, most eyes will likely be on him as he gets another stint with the parent club. He’s been good in Rochester this year, scoring 31 points in 38 games, but only had one goal and one assist in 12 games with the Sabres earlier this year. His last NHL game came on Jan. 9.
The Buffalo Sabres have lost the services of agitator Patrick Kaleta for the next 4-6 weeks following surgery on a lower-body injury, head coach Ted Nolan confirmed on Monday.
“Anybody that plays as hard as he does and what this team means to him and this organization and the city, he wears everything on his sleeve, boy his heart’s on his sleeve and when you play that way, sometimes certain things are going to break down,” Nolan said, per WGR 550 Radio.
Kaleta, 28, returned to the Sabres lineup this year after spending almost all of last season with a torn ACL. While he hasn’t been overly effective — just three points while averaging 8:38 TOI over 33 games — the New York Post floated Kaleta as a potential trade deadline target for the Rangers:
Remember last January when there was almost universal skepticism — if not revulsion — when Sather acquired Daniel Carcillo from LA? Remember how useful Carcillo was until that moment in Game 3 of the conference finals against Montreal when he became engaged with linesman Scott Driscoll and elbowed his way out of New York?
Well, presented for your (and Sather’s) consideration, another reclamation project right up the general manager’s alley.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta, the notorious pending free agent who, when not injuring opponents with headshots and when maintaining his discipline, is exactly the tough, grinding depth winger so necessary to go deep in the playoffs.
Kaleta’s in the last of a three-year, $3.75 million deal with a $1.25M cap hit. It’s unclear what he would cost in terms of a trade, but Buffalo’s asking price could be significantly lowered if he’s unable to return until the end of March.