Ales Kotalik leaves Rangers over trade

LARRY BROOKS

Ales Kotalik has left the Rangers after being told that he would be traded, The Post has learned.

Kotalik, the 32-year-old winger who was signed to a three-year, $9M free agent contract this summer, accompanied the Blueshirts to Phoenix for the first game of their three-game western tour but did not accompany his teammates here for tonight’s match against the Avalanche.

Head coach John Tortorella did not inform the media of Kotalik’s departure in his pre-game press briefing, only stating that the winger would be scratched for the eighth time in the last nine games.

Kotalik, who registered 22 points (8-14) with a minus-18 rating in 45 games, was signed primarily for his big shot on the power play point. But after an encouraging start, Kotalik slumped with the remainder of the man advantage unit. His passive five-on-five nature did not go over well with Tortorella.

It is unknown whether GM Glen Sather has a tentative deal in place for Kotalik or whether this is simply the beginning of the process.

The Maple Leafs, barren up front after today’s blockbuster trades with Calgary and Anaheim, could be interested, perhaps in exchange for defenseman Garnet Exelby. The Oilers, for whom Kotalik played quite well after going to Edmonton from Buffalo at last year’s trade deadline, could also be a logical trading partner.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/rangers/ales_kotalik_leaves_rangers_over_fmjYG1tgtTd2bcYnXMcpbN