Rostislav Klesla will not report to the Buffalo Sabres after being traded to the team at the trade deadline.
He was traded, along with Michal Neuvirth, from the Washington Capitals to the Sabres in exchange for Jaroslav Halak and a 3rd round pick. He was also just swapped the day before from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Capitals in a trade that involved Martin Erat.The TSN reported that Klesla made the following statement: “With all due respect to the Sabres organization, I decided this week not to continue playing hockey this season. It has been a tough year for injury and moving several times to new teams. I will now take some time off and get ready to continue my career in Europe. I would like to thank my fans and all the people that have helped me. I am grateful for the career I have had in the NHL and all the people that I have met along the way who have supported me and my family.”
He was scheduled to report to the Rochester Americans (the Sabres’ AHL affiliate), but it seems like Klesla is going to retire from the NHL and start a career in Europe, like how Ilya Kovalchuk did last offseason.
Drafted 4th overall in 2000, “Rusty” had been a long-time stay-at-home defenceman with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Coyotes, but this season has been pretty ugly for the veteran. He was taken off on a stretcher in a preseason game after getting hit by Jordan Nolan and was placed on waivers. He if retires, Klesla will leave the NHL with 659 career games under his belt.
In my opinion, I think that Rusty should have retired or left North America when he was placed on waivers by the Phoenix Coyotes earlier this season. Not reporting to the Sabres makes it too obvious that he doesn’t want to play for a last-place team.