Does It Make Sense To Bring Back Ales Kotalik?


Ales Kotalik impressed Oilers’ fans during his brief post-trade deadline cameo. He may also have impressed Oilers’ management enough that they want to bring him back.

PunjabiOil over at Lowetide’s site passed along this link about the Oilers and Kotalik:

There is a interview in Czech list today with Kotalik.

In short, he said that he was offered a contract in Edmonton, but lower then he expected, but that they are still talking. He also got offers from few other teams.

He also mentioned he is not considering going to KHL.

Take it for what it’s worth; I wasn’t able to verify the interview but then again I don’t speak Czech. On the positive side, it does fit with Steve Tambellini’s comments from July 1st:

“We’ve had brief discussions with Ales and his agent and we’ll probably have a few more this week.”

In any case, would it make sense for the Oilers to bring back Kotalik? The short answer is maybe. Let’s take a quick look at the top-six depth chart, assuming that the Oilers are able to land Dany Heatley:

Heatley – Horcoff – Hemsky
O’Sullivan – Gagner – Nilsson

Looking at that list, where would the weak spot seem to be? It seems obvious to me that the player on the bubble would be Nilsson; of the smallish forwards, he’s the most inconsistent, and the one who had the lousiest season last year. Of interest here is that Ales Kotalik’s natural position is RW, and on top of that he would help address the lack of size on the second line.

I haven’t exactly been an outspoken supporter of Kotalik since the Oilers brought him in; mostly because a) he’s clearly not a first line player and b) the Oilers gave up a significant asset (second round pick in a deep draft) for a short-term rental. That said, as a complementary player to Gagner and O’Sullivan on the second line I could see Kotalik exceeding his even-strength results (as we’ve noted previously, Kotalik generally gets his points on the powerplay) from the last few seasons – he’d still be playing soft competition, but this time with the advantage of decent linemates.

There’s a second part to this situation that would make Kotalik a good signing. There have been rumours for the past year that the Oilers will move one of their offensive defenseman (Gilbert and Souray are the names commonly mentioned), either for help up front or simply for cap relief, and those rumours make sense. If one of those moves transpired, the Oilers would need a powerplay point-man, and Ales Kotalik happens to be one of the best in the business. Moreover, he’s a right-handed shot; while the Oilers have two very effective one-timers on the point (Visnovsky and Souray) both are left-handed shots, and pairing the two of them together last year often looked comical as a result.

Finally, Kotalik’s shootout acumen is the icing on the cake; he’s one of the best shootout performers in the NHL, and with the number of games that go past overtime that does matter quite a bit.

In short: this opinion is based on other moves the Oilers are likely to make (Nilsson, a puck-moving defenseman), but it makes a world of sense to bring back Ales Kotalik – particularly if the dollars (at a guess 2.5-3MM per season) work out.

  • Hippy

    RE: Kotalik's Hitting Game

    Take it for what it's worth, but here are the top five Oilers forwards in hits from last season:

    1. Moreau: 126
    2. Kotalik: 121
    3. Stortini: 95
    4. Penner: 77
    5. O'Sullivan: 66

    Now hits is a stat I don't overly trust, and from what I saw Kotalik wasn't the most effective hitter in the world, but he doesn't shy from contact.

  • Hippy

    I think it only works if we sign Heatley, or are willing to accept Kotalik on the first line. Hemmer got outspoken about not being happy at the same time as Kotalik started lighting it up on the second line with Sam. I don't think that was coincidence. He wouldn't be happy with a combination of Penner, Horcoff or O'Sullivan as partners if the Heatley trade falls flat.

  • Hippy

    If they move out some contracts I am with you. If we do not get Heatley then signing Kotalik will just take away money that can be used to trade for a potential big name later on.

  • Hippy

    "(second round pick in a deep draft)"

    A late 2nd round pick.
    Just think. Cam Abney could’ve been a 2nd-Round pick!

    "particularly if the dollars (at a guess 2.5-3MM per season) work out."

    I suspect the offer is under $2,000,000 per year.
    Kotalik's numbers were similar to Bertuzzi's
    and Bertuzzi was at $1,950,000.

    "and I think we should be chasing a player that can agitate"

    I don’t think "agitate" and "tougher" mean the same thing.
    Jordin Tootoo agitates.
    Kotalik wins the puck on the boards

  • Hippy

    @ dyckster:
    They would be pretty strong down the middle.

    Getzlaf goes up against the best defenders, Marchant defends against the best defenders, and Koivu's line cleans up the mess.

  • Hippy

    @ IgorUlanov:

    Just because he doesn't hit doesn't mean he doesn't play big.

    Kotalik is very good at using his size to protect the puck (which is where we need size on the top two lines).

  • Hippy

    @ Shifty203:
    Since when is Kotalik hurting our size?

    If we do get Heatley -Kotalik would be a perfect fit on the 2nd line and added much needed size on that line.

  • Hippy

    As 'big' as he is he sure doesn't play like it. He may add size on paper but he's not exactly a physical presence. Having said that,

    Kotalik > Nilsson

    If only because Kotalik honestly seems to give a crap with how he plays. His interviews and clear frustration of not contributing right away made me respect the guy a ton.

  • Hippy

    As much as I like Kotalik and don't really want to see him leave, managment has said before that we are too small and easy to play against. Kotalik will not help us there and I think we should be chasing a player that can agitate and put up a few points when paired with skilled players.