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Well, You Got What You Wished For

July 10, 2009, by

Raise your hand if you wanted to see Nikolai Zherdev gone from the Rangers (presumably) for asking for too much money ($4 million). I see about 90% of your hands are up. I have to hand it to you all, at least you’re honest.

Now keep your hand raised if you’re happy with having Ales Kotalik for the next three years, at a $3 million cap hit. Ahhh, I see maybe 4 hands are still in the air.

But hey, you got what you asked for, and this is your reward. Ales Kotalik for $1 million, and 20 points per season, less. Oh, and he’s 30, and he’s here for three years. When I found out about this signing, I texted my friend and old team mate back in college, who is a huge Sabres fan. The conversation went like this:

Me: What’s your take on Kotalik?
Him: Terrible. Big guy, but he plays like a bitch. Refuses to fight for the puck in the corners or use his size. He does have a good shot though, so if he has a nice set up man he will chip in 20 goals.

Bear in mind, I lived with him for two years, and all I heard was him screaming at the TV, “****ing Kotalik!”.

So Glen Sather has replaced Nikolai Zherdev, someone who could create from nothing, albeit only when he wanted to, with Ales Kotalik, someone who plays like a bitch. All over a contract dispute of around $1 million. Oh, and did I mention that Zherdev was likely to get just 1 year from arbitration? So, in essence, Slats paid Kotalik $5 million more to be a 3rd line RW. Maybe Tortorella really didn’t want Zherdev on his team. But replacing him with Kotalik? I mean, come on.

But hey, all of you who were bitching about one bad month from Zherdev, get ready for the next Dmitri Kalinin. His name is Ales Kotalik.

This signing stinks. (Update 11:15am: Of course, I really hope I’m wrong, and will eat my words if I am, and will happily do so.)

Update 11:40am: In my unorganized rant, I realized I may have come off as saying that Kotalik is overpaid. He’s not. That’s market value (see: Knuble, Mike). I just don’t like the player, for now.

Categories : Analysis, Rants


  1. jurgenno88 says:

    Dave, while i dont like the term or the money i think you are overreacting. The guy can score (4 of 6 seasons of 20+) and he provides chemistry with Drury (wasnt his best season with Dru?).

    He can definitely help on our PP and lets be honest 3m/per isnt unmoveable should he falter?

    Lets get back to Zherdev (who is amazingly talented) but if your boss really didnt like you or vice versa you wouldnt have a job. COuld be the same here. If i had the temperament or inconsistency in my job that Zherdev has i’d be unemployed.

    Talent only goes so far (Alex Daigle and others take a bow)and key attributes required under Torts are missing from Zherdev. I appreciate they may be missing in Kotalik as well but there has to be issues we dont see in the public with Z.

    Having said all that, im not so sure Z wont still come back. With a bit of (financial) creativity there’s room for both…

    • Dave says:

      Yes, his best season was with Drury (and more importantly, Campbell on the PP). I think what the PP is missing is someone like Campbell who makes crisp passes and puts the puck on net. Most of Kotalik’s goals were rebounds, or as my friend stated, off a sweet pass. He can’t create on his own.

      Will he help? Maybe, but initially, I’m not a fan of this move. I hope he proves me wrong.

      As for Zherdev, we will never know if there was an issue between him and Torts, but based on skill, age, and the fact that it was just one bad month, he should have been given another shot this year (assuming no beef with Torts).

      Z will be a LA King by the time it’s all said and done. Just my prediction.

  2. Bryan says:

    The one thing I like most about publishing something online is that for all intent and purposes it stays there (unless your like some folks who remove what they wrote because now they are proven wrong and not saying you are Dave)and as the author you have to defend your position.

    In this case lets see what happens and if your keyboard comes back to bite you in the backside or your profound disgust for Kotalik is warranted.
    More then one person has seen this signing as a “steal” but until the lace up the skates we will never know !

    Incidentally, there is nothing worse in the workplace then a lazy person and is Zherdev wasn’t the laziest player I’ve seen in years he’s amongst the top 3 !

    • Dave says:

      That’s the point of voicing an opinion. I will never remove what I post, and I will call myself out if this signing works out.

      You can look at my opinions of the Derek Morris trade, and I believe I was right when it comes to him. He added nothing and was not what this team needed.

      Apples and oranges though. We shall see. I hope I’m wrong, I really do.

      • Jordan says:

        Yeah, I doubt Dave would be willing to say my bad, I was mistaken if Kotalik goes up there and has a career year or anything close to that, provided Zherdev doesnt go on to have a career year as well. I know I’d be happy to say I’m wrong but I’m glad I was if it was me.

        • Dave says:

          I think you meant to say that you doubt I WON’T be willing to say my bad.

          If Kotalik puts up 50 points, I’ll eat my words. If he puts up anything like he did in 2005-2006, I’ll do the Macarena.

        • Jordan says:

          Correct, Dave.

  3. Mike A. says:

    I’m not in love with the move, but it’s not the end of the world. Is it unreasonable to expect him to approximately replace Naslund’s output for 3/4 of the price? I don’t think so.

    If nothing else, it’s an easy move to back out of.

    • Dave says:

      This is true, it is an easy contract to rid yourself of.

      I guess when you put it that way, in terms of replacing Naslund’s output, it’s not that bad. But you know in Sather’s head he was signed to replace Zherdev, and Higgins was acquired to replace Naslund (in terms of positions).

      • Mike A. says:

        Well, you could look at as Gaborik replaces Zherdev, Kotalik replaces Naslund, Higgins replaces … I guess Gomez’s output.

        • Dave says:

          Hmm. I guess.

          I guess it’s kind of like Pavlov’s dogs with me and Kotalik. I hear Kotalik and it usually gets followed with “I HATE YOU!”.

          But hey, my friend was right about Kalinin.

  4. zen says:

    While I am not enamored with the signing, we basically signed one bitch to replace another and gained what probably will amount to 1 million in cap room in the process. Not to mention that the contract is tradeable… so if things don’t work out, he can be moved at the deadline.

    I understand your thoughts behind keeping Zherdev, but he is not worth it at that kind of money… no matter what player comparisons you come up with. Under Torts, he had 15 points in 36 (I think) games and had NO playoff points. He was virtually invisible on the ice. The Rangers cannot afford to have that much cap space invested in player like that. If the Rangers had more space, I might be more inclined to give him another shot, but they don’t.

    One thing is for sure… we will all soon learn what he is worth to the rest of the league.

    • Dave says:

      Yup, it’s an issue that everyone will be discussing the rest of the offseason. Was Zherdev worth the extra $1 million for just a year? Will Kotalik be worth the extra 2 years at $3 million per?

      Hindsight is always 20/20.

  5. Bryan says:

    Paul Mara to the Habs for 1 year, btw.

    • Dave says:

      I think the Habs will be the only team with a bigger roster turnover than the Rangers.

  6. Mikeyyy says:

    Can’t we drop contracts at a certain point without penalty…so we can stuff the cupboard and then get rid of some people if we don’t need them…ala sign Zherdev and then waive Kotalik if needed?

    • Dave says:

      I wish. The NFL has something similar to that where only a certain amount of the contract is guaranteed money, and they can cut a player at any time with no cap penalty.

  7. Mikeyyy says:

    You also don’t count into the fact that Kotalik is more proficient on the PP than Zherdev was.