RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FREE AGENT FORWARD ALES KOTALIK
New York, July 9, 2009 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent forward Ales Kotalik.
“Ales is a strong, hardworking player with good skating ability and a heavy shot,” stated Sather. “We think he will fit well into our system and will provide additional offense and scoring from the wing position.”
Kotalik has eclipsed the 20-goal mark four times in six seasons, including 21 goals in his first full season in 2002-03. He also holds the NHL record with 11 career game-deciding goals in the shootout (tied with Vyacheslav Kozlov), and has converted 20 of his 38 career shootout attempts (52.6%).
The 6-1, 225 pounder has skated in 445 regular season contests with the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers, recording 121 goals and 130 assists for 251 points, along with 273 penalty minutes. In 2005-06, he established career-highs in games played (82), goals (25), assists (37), points (62), penalty minutes (62), power play points (28), game-winning goals (five), and shots (261). He led Buffalo in shots, tied for the team lead in game-winning goals, second in goals, and ranked third in points. He was also one of only two Sabres to skate in all 82 games during the season.
Kotalik appeared in 75 games with Buffalo and Edmonton last season, registering 20 goals and 23 assists for 43 points, along with 34 penalty minutes. He ranked third on Edmonton in goals and tied for fifth in points. He also finished second on the team with nine power play goals and third with 208 shots. Kotalik led the NHL with five game-deciding goals in the shootout, and ranked second in the league with eigth shootout goals. He posted a career-high, five-game scoring streak from March 24 vs. Detroit to March 31 against Anaheim, collecting five points (four goals and one assist) over the span. In addition, Kotalik registered his 250th career NHL points with a goal against Vancouver on April 4. He was traded to Edmonton on March 4 in exchange for a second round selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
As a rookie in 2002-03, he finished the season ranked second among all NHL rookies in goals (21) and fourth in points (35), and was named NHL Rookie of the Month for January. In postseason play, Kotalik has registered six goals and nine assists for 15 points, along with 16 penalty minutes in 34 career contests.
Kotalik also captured a bronze medal with the Czech Republic at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.
The Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech Republic native was originally Buffalo’s sixth round choice, 164th overall, in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.