Buffalo Sabres: Can Patrick Kaleta Make the Sabres Roster?


With training camp underway, Patrick Kaleta is hoping to be on the Buffalo Sabres opening night roster

Patrick Kaleta is the first to admit he will have a tough time making the Buffalo Sabres opening-night roster. He is signed to a one-year contract with the Rochester Americans – the Sabres AHL affiliate – and has been invited to a professional tryout at training camp.

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Kaleta did virtually nothing, during 42 games with the Sabres last season. Admittedly, he was playing on the worst team in the NHL, but three assists and no goals is still an extremely poor return (even taking into account his role on the team).

From the Angola, New York native’s point of view, he’s just thankful to have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot with the Sabres. He has previously expressed his desire to remain with his local team, rather than go elsewhere.

Kaleta realises the odds are stacked against him, with lots of media analysts and fans alike writing him off. As he told John Vogl of The Buffalo News: “People doubt me all the time.

“I’m pretty sure I get people doubting me every single day, every single hour. Just look at my Twitter feed.”

In any event, the 2004 sixth round draft pick is ready and prepared for the challenge ahead. It’s not like this is the first time he has had to deal with adversity.

Dec 29, 2014; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen (2) fights with Buffalo Sabres right wing Patrick Kaleta (36) in the first period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Kaleta has repeatedly clashed with opponents and the league, leading to several suspensions. In fact, it got to the point where he was embroiled in a much-publicized dispute with the NHL, with Gary Bettman allegedly pressuring then-GM Darcy Reiger to expel him from the league.

On top of this, the winger has suffered various injuries, especially during the last three seasons. The worst was a slapshot to his face last September, which required three plates and 14 screws.

When you consider all of these past issues, it suddenly makes sense why Kaleta is confident he still has a future with the Sabres: “I’ve worked my whole summer for the opportunity to come here and make a team, and that’s my goal.

“I was blessed for the chance and the opportunity. Now I’ve just got to make the most of the opportunity.”

One thing that may or may not help the cause, are the words of encouragement from Dan Bylsma. The Sabres coach told Vogl: “I think Pat has a legitimate chance to make it.

“We don’t have a lot of opportunity, but as a veteran guy and as a guy in Pat’s shoes, you have to come out and do exactly what he’s doing in camp, which is play his style, play his game. He’s done that right in our practices, he did that in our scrimmage.”

Overall, while I admire Kaleta’s positive attitude and motivation, I don’t believe he will make the opening night roster. He’s right at the bottom of the current rankings in respect of the forwards, with Johan Larsson penciled in as the first extra.

However, there’s no denying he will do whatever it takes: “Anything and everything that needs to be done I’m more than willing to do. Hopefully, when Oct. 6 or 7 rolls around, I’ll be here in whatever role that’s needed to help my team.”

Next: Tyler Ennis excited for the new season

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