Vulgar Statistics: Acquisitions By The Numbers: Ales Kotalik
Yes, I know that it’s likely that Kotalik will never actually see ice time in a Buffalo Sabres uniform this season, but you must realize one key thing: I am going on vacation (am currently on vacation by the time you read this) for a week and need (needed?) an easy topic I could (can?) write about before hand. Hmm…mixing tenses is tricky.
So…Ales Kotalik. Let’s be honest, Kotalik wasn’t involved in the Regehr trade because we wanted another player, he was involved because Calgary wanted to get rid of him. So the trade actually looked something like this:
To Buffalo: Robyn Regehr, 2nd Round Draft Pick
To Calgary: Paul Byron, Chris Butler, No More Kotalik (Hooray!)
Kotalik was once a pretty safe bet to tally twenty goals a season. From 2002 to 2009 (six seasons), he put up 120 goals and 127 assists in 432 games which works out to a 23 goal, 24 assist season. In his best years, 05-06, 07-08, and 08-09 he put up a total of 31 goals and 42 assists on the power play.
The key word in the first sentence there is “was.”
The last two seasons Kotalik has been a disaster. Only 15 goals and 18 assists in 97 games played which comes out to a 13 goal, 15 assist season for $3.0M. And it hasn’t come because of drastically reduced ice-time either. Kotalik’s average of 13:42 of ice time the past two seasons is not that far below the 15:11 for the remainder of his career and he’s continued to log over a minute per game of power play time the past two seasons. The simple fact is that he just hasn’t been good.
A dip in production might not be as bad if Kotalik brought any intangibles whatsoever, but he doesn’t. Unlike Paul Gaustad (who seems to do far more with less talent), he doesn’t take faceoffs, doesn’t play tough, doesn’t use his 6’1″, 225 pound frame, and isn’t a leader. When Kotalik isn’t scoring, he isn’t useful.
Management’s insistence that Kotalik will compete for a roster spot seems like total bunk (aka necessary PR) to me. I don’t think anyone within the organization wants Kotalik anywhere near the ice. He doesn’t bring anything the team needs. The Sabres have extensive depth at winger and the power play was top ten in the league last season. Even when you exclude guys that might play center, Kotalik is towards the bottom of the depth chart. Vanek, Stafford, Pominville, Gerbe, and even Kaleta and Ellis bring more to the table than Kotalik does, and at better cost. Simply put, he doesn’t belong here. Unless the Sabres go to the shootout in 60% of their games, then he’ll be the best acquisition ever.