32-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
Rostislav Klesla Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in July 2014.
Klesla (suspension) cleared unconditional waivers, TSN's Darren Dreger reports.
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Rostislav Klesla: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Klesla isn't much for providing offense from the blue line, but he's one of the key pieces that contributed to making Mike Smith's 2011-12 campaign so successful. Klesla, who played in the most games last season (65) since suiting up for all 82 in 2007-08, tallied 112 hits and 150 blocked shots to go along with a career-best plus-13 rating. The addition of Zybnek Michalek should only strengthen the already-stacked Phoenix blue line.
Since 2008, Klesla has struggled to remain healthy. In 2010-11, he saw action in 61 games, tallying four goals and seven assists while finishing with a plus-4 rating, though only one of those goals came while with the Coyotes (16 games). In his 10-year career, Klesla has cracked the 20-point mark just once (2006-07 with Columbus) and there's no reason to expect that to change in Phoenix.
Fragile defenseman managed just 26 games last season, scoring 2-6-8 with 26 PIMs.
Veteran defenseman staggered through an injury-plagued season, scoring 1-8-9 in 34 games.
Klesla got his usual modest point total in '07-'08, but posted a positive plus-minus for the first time in his NHL career. He's developed into a reliable defensive defenseman.
Klesla set career highs with nine goals and 22 points last season, and is still just 25 years old. He'll never be a superstar, but he's becoming a solid NHL defenseman.
Injuries have kept Klesla from producing at the rate he did in junior, and he might never be the defenseman the Blue Jackets thought they were getting with their top pick in 2000. If he can stay healthy he's got a shot at 25 or so points and 100+ PIMs.
Klesla has yet to really meet the expectations that come along with being a first round pick, but the Blue Jackets aren't yet frustrated with the pace of his development. Having Adam Foote around to mentor him should help; don't be surprised if Klesla takes a big step forward in '05-'06, and reaches the 10 goal, 25 point level.