Should The Buffalo Sabres Re-Sign Patrick Kaleta?


With the Buffalo Sabres season now officially halfway complete, it’s not a bad time to start looking ahead to this summer and the impending free agency. As it stands right now, 23 members of the Buffalo Sabres organization are set to become restricted or unrestricted free agents this coming July. That may seem like a high number – and it is – but keep in mind that 12 of those players are currently on the Rochester Americans roster.

One significant Buffalo Sabres player who may hit the open market in July is right winger Patrick Kaleta. One of the longer-tenured players on the team, Kaleta has been a member of the Buffalo Sabres organization since the team drafted him in 2004 (176th overall).

Kaleta began his NHL career in the 2006-07 season and has been plagued with injuries and suspensions, particularly in the last few years. He’s never played more than 63 games in a season due to this and overall has 325 games of NHL experience under his belt. His career-best is 15 points in a single season.

Let’s look back at the last few seasons for Patrick Kaleta and what he’s done with the Buffalo Sabres.

2013-2014 NHL season

  • Played just five NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres (Oct. 2-10), averaging 8:26 ice time per game.
  • Suspended 10 games as a result of an illegal check to the head of Jack Johnson (10/10)
  • Played seven games with the Rochester Americans (Nov. 8-29)
  • Suffered torn ACL, missed rest of season

2012-2013 NHL season

  • Appeared in 34 of 48 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres (67 penalty minutes)
  • Suspended 5 games for boarding Brad Richards (3/4)
  • Missed 5 games with neck injury (1/31 – 2/7)
  • Missed 3 games with hand injury (4/22 – 4/26)

2011-2012 NHL season

  • Played in 63 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres (116 penalty minutes)
  • Suspended 4 games for headbutt on Jakub Voracek (11/2)
  • Fined $2500 for high-sticking Derek Morris (11/19)
  • Missed 4 games with lower-body injury (11/23 – 11/29)
  • Missed 8 games with lower-body injury (12/3 – 12/20)
  • Missed 3 games with upper-body injury (3/21 – 3/24)

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2010-2011 NHL season

  • Played in 51 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres (78 penalty minutes)
  • Fined undisclosed amount for attempted headbutt on Travis Zajac (10/17)
  • Missed 1 game with upper-body injury (11/17)
  • Missed 7 games with upper-body injury (1/1 – 1/15)
  • Missed 6 games with upper-body injury (1/23 – 2/10)
  • Missed 15 games with lower-body injury (3/8 – 4/5)

2009-2010 NHL season

  • Played in 55 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres (89 penalty minutes)
  • Suspended 2 games for boarding Jared Ross (11/28)
  • Missed 1 game with flu-like symptoms (10/31)
  • Missed 3 games with neck injury (12/21 – 12/27)
  • Missed 6 games with upper-body injury (12/29 – 1/9)
  • Missed 6 games with bruised foot (2/3 – 2/13)
  • Missed 8 games with upper-body injury (3/27 – 4/10)

All in all, from October 2009 until October 2014, Kaleta played in 208 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres. He was suspended for 21 games and missed an additional 76 games due to injury, not including the majority of the 2013-14 season. (Kaleta suffered that injury while playing at the AHL level, so it is not included on the injury report for the year.)

Other Buffalo Sabres players who are set to be unrestricted free agents include Torrey Mitchell, Drew Stafford, Chris Stewart, Andre Benoit, Andrej Meszaros, Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth. The team has plenty of other players to think about moving forward, and it’s becoming more and more difficult for a player like Kaleta to find a spot on the roster.

So — should the Buffalo Sabres give Kaleta another chance and re-sign him for another season? Should it be a long-term deal or a short-term stint, if so? Or should they let him hit the free agent market and move on?

Is it worth the risk, knowing his history of injuries and suspensions? My opinion: No. It’s time to let him go. Kaleta has missed what amounts to almost two full seasons of the past five due to injury. He’s also missed a combined quarter of a season due to suspensions. Take that into consideration, along with the fact that he generally hasn’t been very productive when he IS playing, and… it’s just not worth the roster spot.

Time to let him move on and though he may or may not get an NHL contract elsewhere, there just isn’t room for him on the Buffalo Sabres anymore.

What do you think — vote and leave your comments below.