Calgary (Domebeers) – In an unforeseen move, the Calgary Flames have agreed to loan forward Alex Kotalik to the Miami Heat. In exchange, the Heat will be sending the Flames three (3) signed jerseys, a bottle of Pat Riley’s favourite wine, and a nice thank you card.
By lending Kotalik to the Heat, both teams will save millions of dollars worth of cap space. Kotalik, who is slated to make $3 million dollars this season and the next, will still be paid by the Flames organization, but his salary will not count against their cap. For the Heat, the move allows them to acquire a big money bench player, but slot him on their cap at the minimum salary.
“We are very excited,” said Miami Heat President Pat Riley. “Ales is a big body, who can come off the bench and score in bunches, and provides some toughness. That’s his history, and we fully expect him to be able to bring that down here. And you can’t beat the price.”
With the additions of Lebron James and Chris Bosh to a roster that already included former NBA champion Dwayne Wade, the Miami Heat are tight against the NBA salary cap of $59 million dollars. With at least 9 roster spots left to fill, Pat Riley has had to be creative.
“We have front line players; we were looking for bench help. We looked back at Ales’s time in Buffalo, and he clearly dominated playing on the 3rd line. We envision a similar role for him on our team, so we think he will excel.”
Calgary has been looking to move Kotalik almost since they acquired him from the New York Rangers for Olli Jokinen at the trade deadline last year. With RFA Ian White heading to arbitration, the Flames desperately need to clear cap space before the season starts if they are to sign him.
“Mumble mumble mumble mumble,” said Calgary GM Darryl Sutter. “To be quite honest, mumble mumble mumble.”
“We are very happy with the deal. Ales simply didn’t fit in with our plans here. That isn’t a knock on him. He is a good player. We just needed the room,” clarified newly hired Assistant GM, Jay Feaster.
“Oh, and in the future, call me, not Darryl.”
For Kotalik, the swap marks an end to a turbulent and unsettling time in his career. Acquired from the Rangers, Kotalik’s time in Calgary had been marked with unmet expectations. Recently, the club put him on waivers, where he went unclaimed. Since that day, his future in Calgary has been increasingly cloudy. Speculation that he would be playing in the KHL had been heating up over the last week, which this moves effectively ends.
“Me? I’m happy. I didn’t want to go to Abbotsford, you know? I didn’t think my family would be safe there. Russia was never really an option; I’m Czech, what would I want to go play in Russia for? But Miami? What a destination! And to be playing with some of the best players in the league? Yeah, very excited,” said Ales Kotalik, upon hearing of the news.
For the Flames, the move allows them to immediately use the Kotalik savings on RFA Ian White. Had the team decided to send Kotalik to the minors, they would have had to wait to the start of the season to realize the savings, which would have meant that they would not have been able to sign RFA Ian White, who was acquired in the Dion Phaneuf trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ales Kotalik isn’t the only player former Flame on Pat Riley’s radar. Nigel Dawes, recently bought out by the Calgary Flames, has been extended a tryout.
“Well, we invited him (Dawes) down for a tryout. I was looking at his numbers, and he seems to be able to play against some of the big boys and still produce. And at that salary, it’s hard to beat. He was excellent on the power play for them. Hopefully he comes to (training) camp in shape and ready to compete.”
No word yet on if the Flames plan to use the open roster space created by the Kotalik swap to bring in coveted free agent Terrell Owens.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.