Another Ales on team

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

So far the chemistry is right.

The first person to welcome Ales Kotalik to the Edmonton Oilers was Ales Hemsky.

At the time, Kotalik had no idea he had been traded.

"We've been friends for a long time and we're always talking about the possibility of playing together if I ever got the chance to play in Edmonton," Kotalik said. "He was the first guy to let me know that I was traded. I didn't hear from anyone on our team and I got a message from him welcoming me to the organization.

"I was kind of shocked and hoping that he wasn't kidding. Then I got a call from the general manager here and the coaches and it became official."

Kotalik, 30, was acquired by the Oilers from the Buffalo Sabres for a second-round pick, obtained earlier in a deal that sent Erik Cole back to the Carolina Hurricanes for Patrick O'Sullivan.

The native of Jindrichuv, Hradec, Czech Republic had 13 goals and 19 assists in 56 games with the Sabres this season. Originally their seventh pick - 164 overall - in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Kotalik will be an unrestricted freeagent this summer.

"I'm excited about going to Edmonton and it doesn't matter to me who I play with as long as we can help the team win and get to the playoffs," Kotalik said.

"Edmonton has a lot of great talent with Ales there and Patrick coming in it's even more exciting.

"I'm looking forward to meeting everybody and hopefully I can help the team fulfill all their expectations."

A right-handed shot, Kotalik is a natural right-winger who can also play on the opposite side and in the middle. He's expected to help on the power play, where he was used on the point in Buffalo.

"I've been used a lot on the power play in Buffalo and shooting the puck from the point is where I feel most comfortable and where I think I can help the team most," Kotalik said. "But whatever role I can fill there I will."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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