January 31, 2010
Larry Brooks of the N.Y. Post reported this evening that winger Ales Kotalik "has left the Rangers after being told that he would be traded," which is diametrically opposed to TSN's report that the Rangers sent him home in preparation for a trade that may or may not come.
He was with the team in Phoenix but didn't accompany the Blueshirts to Denver for tonight's game against the Colorado Avalanche, for which he was listed as a "healthy scratch."
Kotalik, who registered 22 points (8-14) with a minus-18 rating in 45 games, was signed primarily for his big shot on the power play point. But after an encouraging start, Kotalik slumped with the remainder of the man advantage unit. His passive five-on-five nature did not go over well with [Coach John] Tortorella.
It is unknown whether GM Glen Sather has a tentative deal in place for Kotalik or whether this is simply the beginning of the process.
The Maple Leafs, barren up front after today's blockbuster trades with Calgary and Anaheim, could be interested, perhaps in exchange for defenseman Garnet Exelby(notes). The Oilers, for whom Kotalik played quite well after going to Edmonton from Buffalo at last year's trade deadline, could also be a logical trading partner.
Kotalik signed a three-year, $9 million free-agent contract during the summer that was lauded at the time. His 22 points were clustered in the first two months of the season; since Dec. 1, Kotalik had two goals and two assists in 19 games.
There were strong whispers that he wanted out. You know N.Y. Daily News, we're not convinced this guy's going to help the Rangers' power play after all.