From now until the season starts on October 3rd, we will take a look at the players making the squad and try to answer the main question that is going to be asked about them this season. For now, we look at center Patrick Kaleta.
Kaleta is one of those heart-warming Sabres stories that come along every once in a while. Born in Angola, NY, Kaleta always was a fan of the Sabres as his hometown team and when he was drafted by the Sabres in 2004, the goal of making his hometown team was that much closer. When he broke with the club in 2007 during the Ottawa brawl game, the goal became real and now as a veteran of three seasons, he becomes the enforcer de facto of the club. The main question this season is whether he will drop the gloves enough for the fans?
Kaleta has always shown a level of restraint in his NHL career. That level of restraint has lead many a fan to calling his actions 'turtlish.' While Kaleta talks the trash really well and has an uncanny ability of getting under an opponents skin, he has only taken seven fighting majors in his short NHL career. Now with the departure of Andrew Peters, Kaleta becomes the enforcer and all around pest of the team. What is going to cause some issues is if he continues to turtle in most situations, his actions will become less effective and his scoring numbers will not back up his case for being on the team.
There are fans on both sides of this debate though. There are some that think that Kaleta's actions are ultimately helping the team in gaining powerplay opportunities for the team that they can ultimately capitalize on. While they would be right, at some point this kid needs to show that he is not all bark and no bite. Kaleta's game was a lot like Matthew Barnaby's was back in the day for the Sabres. The main difference was that in Barnaby's 14 year career, he dropped the gloves 195 times, which averages out to roughly 14 times a season.