#36 Patrick Kaleta
He is known as one of the biggest agitator’s in the NHL. He was drafted by the Sabres in the 6th round (176th overall) in 2004. The Buffalo native is becoming known for his hits on opponents. In Buffalo, the company “Carubba Collision” sponsors the hit of the game: they have for years. Due to Kaleta’s physical play and since he has the hit of the game most of the time, many Sabres fans believe the name should be changed to “Kaleta Collision”.
Patrick Kaleta’s first game was one he will never forget. It was not just any ordinary game on that night. It happened to be on February 22nd, 2007, when Buffalo and Ottawa met for a emotional matchup.
After Chris Neil took a cheap shot at Chris Drury, a brawl ensued on the following faceoff. Kaleta took on Chris Phillips, as everyone grabbed a partner, including Martin Biron fighting Ray Emery. Kaleta had his family watching in the stands, and it was one unforgettable night. Buffalo went on to win the game 6-5 in a shootout.
Almost one year later, Kaleta scored his first NHL goal. It came on February 8th, 2008 against the Florida Panthers.
Patrick Kaleta continues to be a physical force for the Buffalo Sabres. Here are some stats from an article in www.thescore.com:
“Let’s take a quick look at how well Kaleta has drawn penalties over his NHL career (this season and the two preceeding it):
- 2009-10: 6.9 penalties drawn per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time (first in the NHL)
- 2008-09: 4.9 penalties drawn per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time (first in the NHL)
- 2007-08: 5.0 penalties drawn per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time (first in the NHL)
That’s right: not only does Kaleta currently lead the league in penalties drawn (relative to ice-time) but he has done so for the last two years. Basically, those numbers mean that while playing 8:00 minutes or so of even-strength ice-time per night, Kaleta’s been giving the Sabres two extra power plays every three games. Over an 82-game season, that adds up to 55 power plays, and at Buffalo’s 21% success rate last year, that adds up to 12 extra goals a season.
That’s a lot, and that’s why I think Patrick Kaleta’s name has to be in the running for the NHL’s most effective irritant.”
Over the past few years, more and more teams are starting to become aware of Kaleta’s presence. Kaleta needs to watch out or somebody is going to look for payback against him. Even though he is not much of a fighter, Kaleta can force opponents off of their game plan.