Kotalik goes unclaimed

Ales Kotalik's time with the Flames has been tumultuous. (QMI Agency/Jocelyn Malette)

Ales Kotalik's time with the Flames has been tumultuous. (QMI Agency/Jocelyn Malette)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:55 PM ET

CALGARY -- Ales Kotalik's all-star break will last a little longer.

But that's a silver lining that might be tough to see for the 32-year-old winger who has been assigned to the AHL's Abbotsford Heat.

After clearing waivers Friday morning — every NHL team passed on picking up his $3-million salary — Kotalik will be earning his money in the minors.

Flames GM Jay Feaster said via email Kotalik was being sent down and must report to the Heat after their all-star break. The AHL all-star game goes Monday night. The Heat play next Friday.

Kotalik's time with the Flames has been tumultuous.

After former GM Darryl Sutter picked up the slumping right-flanker from the New York Rangers in a swap last February, the Czech Republic product's struggles continued.

He posted three goals and five points in 26 games with the Flames down the stretch.

He was waived in the off-season — again, no takers — and rumours swirled he might be loaned to a team in Europe or assigned to the minors.

But he wound up having a pretty solid pre-season before injuring his knee in the finale up in Edmonton.

Missing the first two months of the 2010-11 campaign, Kotalik has been a bit player since his return. He has managed just three goals and no assists in 20 games and was a healthy scratch for the last three heading into the NHL all-star break.

He's still got another year at $3 million on his contract, which includes a no-trade clause.

twitter.com/MacfarlaneSteve


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