It has been a rough year for Rostislav Klesla, but it seems after getting traded to the Buffalo Sabres was the last straw. The 31-year-old veteran has decided to leave the NHL as opposed to reporting to the Buffalo organization this season. Klesla told TSN's Darren Dreger he plans to take some time away before resuming his career in Europe.
Klesla started the year with the Phoenix Coyotes, but was traded to the Washington Capitals as part of the deal that sent Martin Erat to Phoenix. Klesla was then flipped to the Sabres as part of the trade that sent Jaroslav Halak to Washington.
The former fourth-overall pick in the NHL Draft decided that was enough, apparently.
"With all due respect to the Sabres organization, I decided this week not to continue playing hockey this season. It has been a tough year for injury and moving several times to new teams,” Klesla said in a statement.
“I will now take some time off and get ready to continue my career in Europe. I would like to thank my fans and all the people that have helped me. I am grateful for the career I have had in the NHL and all the people that I have met along the way who have supported me and my family."
So this is rather interesting.
The Sabres probably thought they'd have a stop-gap veteran to help them get through this dismal season. The team did plan to have him start with American Hockey League affiliate Rochester Americans, and it was likely he would remain with the AHL club.
Even so, Sabres brass can't be happy that they acquired a player they can't utilize for an actual asset in Jaroslav Halak and a third-round draft pick. The Sabres also picked up goalie Michal Neuvirth, so it's not like the Sabres got nothing, but one has to wonder how Buffalo GM Tim Murray would have altered the deal had he known Klesla wouldn't report.
This may not be the last we've heard of this. It probably isn't the last we've heard of Klesla either. Even if it's in Europe, he'll be playing somewhere next year.
Klesla was in the last year of a four-year, $11.9 million deal. He cleared waivers earlier in the year and spent 21 games in the American Hockey League with the Portland Pirates. He played only 25 games with the Coyotes this season.
If this is the end of the road in the NHL for Klesla, it comes after spending parts of 14 seasons in the league with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Coyotes. He appeared in 659 games over that span and posted 159 points.