SUN Hockey Pool

Kotalik placed on waivers

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

As he walked out of the Saddledome after a brief and disappointing few weeks with the Flames, Ales Kotalik said he wanted to prove to Calgary what kind of player he can be.

Depending on what happens in the next 24 hours, the Czech winger may not get that opportunity.

Kotalik was placed on waivers Monday and his US$3-million salary for the next two years could be picked up by another team.

If he clears waivers, the Flames have the option of buying him out immediately, or potentially reassigning him to the AHL or working out a loan to Europe at a later date, as they did with Marcus Nilson in 2008.

Kotalik has reached the 20-goal mark four times in his NHL career but struggled to his lowest post-lockout totals of 11 goals and 27 points last season, netting just three goals and five points in his 26 games with the Flames.

Buying him out would save the Flames $2 million on the cap this season and the same the next year, but would cost them a $1-million hit for both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 NHL seasons.

The savings could help GM Darryl Sutter sign restricted free-agent defenceman Ian White -- who was among eight Flames tendered qualifying offers Monday -- or maybe Christopher Higgins or another of the unrestricted free agents who might hit the open market Thursday.

Along with White, the Flames qualified RFA goaltenders Henrik Karlsson -- who was acquired from the San Jose Sharks for a sixth-round pick Saturday -- and Matt Keetley, defencemen Gord Baldwin and Matt Pelech and forwards Kris Chucko, Brett Sutter and J.D. Watt.

Minor-league defenceman Brad Cole was the only RFA not qualified by the Flames and becomes an unrestricted free agent.

White has arbitration rights and will be the most expensive to re-sign. He made $950,000 last season and scored 13 goals -- eighth best among league blueliners -- and 38 points.

In 27 games with the Flames after coming to Calgary in the deal that sent Dion Phaneuf to the Toronto Maple Leafs, White scored four goals and 12 points.

Should he go to arbitration, the contract would only be a one-year deal because the 26-year-old qualifies for unrestricted free agency next summer.

If the Flames find the judgement too high for their liking, they can walk away from the ruling, allowing White to become a UFA.

Eric Nystrom, Craig Conroy, Jamal Mayers, Brian McGrattan and Vesa Toskala are the team's pending UFAs.


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