Much has been written about the importance of Patrick Kaleta to the Sabres, often including some classic cliches about straws stirring drinks or what not. There have even been statistical analysis comparing Kaleta to Ilya Kovalchuk, quite favorably. So hearing that the Sabres have taken Kaleta to salary arbitration has made some folks nervous. Here’s why I wouldn’t worry.
Firstly, it means Kaleta should be back with the Sabres. Either they sign him before his hearing (which happens quite a bit) or he’ll get the deal from the arbiter. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Patty cannot be signed to any offer sheets. This move keeps the other GMs in the league out of the fray, especially the ones with bigtime cap room and a need for grit. It’s a reduction in the variables involved in the contract equation, which is always a good thing.
Worst case scenario I suppose is this getting to arbitration…but I don’t think Darcy Regier is exactly Glen Sather in there. I don’t think Kaleta will come out in tears.