Robyn says ‘Yes’, Sabres acquire Regehr, Kotalik & pick
After word leaked out Thursday that Calgary Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr was asked to waive his no-trade clause to clear way for a trade to Buffalo, the wait for an answer has dominated Sabres talk. When it appeared early Friday evening that he wanted to explore other options, the deal appeared D.O.A.
But, now, it’s done.
Announced officially this morning, the Sabres have acquired Regehr, as well as former Sabre Ales Kotalik and a 2nd round pick in 2012 from Calgary in exchange for Chris Butler and Paul Byron.
Regehr finished with 17 points and a plus-2 rating in 79 games this season. The 31-year-old defenceman has 163 points in 11 seasons.
The 32-year-old Kotalik spent last season between Calgary and the Flames’ AHL affiliate Abbotsford, recording six points in 26 games in Calgary.
Big shoutout to Joe Pinzone over at Buffalo Wins for being the first to break the details of the deal, even when it looked like Regehr wasn’t going to waive.
Buffalo now has an elite shutdown defenseman in Regehr, something they lacked last season in the absence of Toni Lydman. With Tyler Myers on record as saying the former Canadian Olympian was his favorite player as a kid, one would have to think this will help the big guy grow as a player.
Also coming back in the deal is longtime Sabre Ales Kotalik. “AlKo” had 114 goals in 426 games, the 25th most in Sabres history, from the time he made his debut in Buffalo during the 2001-02 season until his trade at the 2009 trade deadline. He had three game-winning goals over the span of the 2006 and 2007 playoff campaigns, tied for 10th in team history.
While some may be clamoring for an immediate buyout of Kotalik, who has one year left on his contract at $3 million, the value of having him around far outweighs the benefits of a buyout. Buying out Ales’ contract would entail burning $1 million in cap space this season and next, which in previous years, may have been an option. But with an owner who can swallow salary, and a player who played his best while here, you’d think there’d be use for him either in Buffalo in the bottom six, or Rochester, where his cap hit would be zero once he clears waivers.
Buffalo also picked up a second round pick in next year’s draft, likely a throw in for taking Kotalik’s hefty contract off of Calgary’s hands. This pick will be valuable come the 2012 trade deadline, or may be a big part of replenishing the prospect pool.
All in all, it’s a brilliant move for GM Darcy Regier, who did not subtract much from the roster to make this deal. Chris Butler proved expendable, never establishing himself permanently on the blueline. Paul Byron showed signs of promise in short stints last season, scoring a goal in eight games. Neither were necessary to move forward towards a Stanley Cup.