Kaleta had just finished serving a 10-game suspension for a hit to the head on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, the fourth suspension of his career, and Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier was unsuccessful in his attempts to trade the controversial forward. This led Regier to make the decision to place Kaleta on waivers on Saturday, Nov. 2 to give him an opportunity to preserve his NHL career.
The Sabres drafted the Angola, New York native 176th overall in the sixth round of 2004 NHL draft. Making his Sabres debut in the infamous brawl game against the Ottawa Senators in February of 2007, Kaleta has since played 306 games with the team. During his time with the Sabres, Kaleta has 27 goals and 24 assists for 51 points, while accumulating 506 penalty minutes and a minus-7 rating. He also has two goals and three assists for five points in 12 career playoff games with the Sabres, with 28 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating.
Having cleared waivers, Kaleta will now return to where he started his professional hockey career, having played 87 games with the Rochester Americans between 2006 and 2008. Kaleta had six goals and 13 assists for 19 points to go along with 242 penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating while with the Amerks.
The Sabres hope Kaleta can reinvent his playing style while with the Amerks and tone down his reckless style of play that has developed him a reputation for being a dirty player.
"One of the opportunities he gets is working on his game by creating some space beyond how they currently view him and how they will view him in the future,” said Darcy Regier. “I have no question about his ability to do that. I really believe he can change. He’s 27 and he has the ability to do that and be an effective player in the NHL."
If Kaleta can clean his game up and turn it around, it appears he will have the opportunity to return to the Sabres sooner rather than later.