In the Nation roundtable, Ales Kotalik was identified by myself (and others) as budgetary deadweight that would best be expunged from the roster in order to free up some cap dollars. Frankly, I stand by that conclusion. Kotalik is a bad bet to provide value for his $3M/year salary over the next two seasons. While he’s been a 20 goal scorer in the past, he’s never played against tough competition consistently, meaning he’s done most of his damage against third liners and on the power play. In addition, aside from a 62 point outburst for the Sabres back in 2006-05, Kotalik has hovered around the 40 point/season range, meaning he doesn’t really do that much damage anyways. Also, he turns 32 in December.
That said, there’s some chance that Kotalik won’t be completely useless should the Flames fail to get rid of him.
His season for the Rangers was, to be blunt, awful. The percentages kicked the crap out of him last year: he scored 11 goals on 172 shots (6.4 SH%), which is well below a career average that hovered above 10% previously. His on-ice SH%+SV% (PDO) was also an abysmal 95.9. That was the 19th worst number in the league this year amongst regular NHLers. As such, we can reasonably expect some sort of bounce back from Kotalik this year, simply as a function of regression to the mean – there’s little chance the hockey gods continue to crap on him to this extent.
In addition, while he didn’t exactly light the lamp during his time in Calgary, Kotalik at least showed that he’s not bad enough to sink a line by himself. In Robert Cleave’s look at Chris Higgins possession numbers here, he shows that Langkow+Higgins were a pretty formidable duo, at least in terms of moving the puck north. Kotalik was the typical right winger on that line and while I’m somewhat dubious about his contributions to driving possession, at least he wasn’t dragging the trio down.
He’s not terrible is the gist of the article I guess and the Flames may get the benefit of a rebound season on top of that. If Brent can play him in friendly circumstances (say, a third unit with Backlund and Glencross or Dawes that gets easier matchups at ES and some nice PP time), then perhaps the team will garner some value from that contract (probably not full value, but that’s where we’re at).