Rostislav Klesla

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Rostislav Klesla
130412 Rostislav Klesla.png
Born (1982-03-21) March 21, 1982 (age 32)
Nový Jičín, Czechoslovakia
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Left
CZE team
Former teams
HC Ocelari Trinec
Columbus Blue Jackets
VHK Vsetin
HPK
Phoenix Coyotes
National team  Czech Republic
NHL Draft 4th overall, 2000
Columbus Blue Jackets
Playing career 2000–present

Rostislav "Rusty" Klesla (born March 21, 1982) is a Czech professional ice hockey defenceman. He is currently under contract with HC Ocelari Trinec of the Czech Extraliga. Klesla was selected fourth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, making him the first ever pick in an entry draft by the Blue Jackets. He has also played with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Playing career[edit]

Junior[edit]

Czech Republic

Klesla spent the 1997–98 season with HC Opava Jr. of the Czech Republic Junior League, where in 38 games, Klesla scored 11 goals and 29 points. In eight playoff games, Klesla had two goals and four points.

Sioux City Musketeers

Klesla began playing junior hockey in North America in 1998–99, when he played for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. In 54 games, Klesla had four goals and 16 points, while getting 100 penalty minutes. In five playoff games, Klesla scored two goals.

Brampton Battalion

Klesla moved to the Brampton Battalion of the OHL for the 1999–2000 season. In 67 games with Brampton, Klesla had 16 goals and 45 points, along with 174 penalty minutes, as he helped the Battalion to their first ever playoff berth. In six playoff games, Klesla had a goal and two points. He returned to the Battalion in 2000–01 season, having a break out season offensively. In 45 games, Klesla had 18 goals and 54 points. Klesla then added two goals and 11 points in nine playoff games. Klesla also played for the Czech Republic in the 2001 World Junior Hockey Championship, where he had three goals and seven points in seven games.

Professional career[edit]

Columbus Blue Jackets
Klesla as a member of the Blue Jackets

Klesla appeared in eight games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the team's inaugural 2000–01 season, as he scored two goals for the team, before being sent back to junior hockey with the Brampton Battalion. He stayed in the NHL on a full-time basis in 2001–02, as Klesla had eight goals and 16 points in 75 games with the Blue Jackets, earning a spot on the NHL All-Rookie Team. After the season, Klesla played for the Czech Republic in the World Hockey Championship, where he had a goal and three points in seven games.

Klesla had two goals and 16 points with the Blue Jackets in 2002–03, while scoring two goals and 13 points in a 47 game injury shortened season with Columbus in 2003–04. With the 2004–05 NHL lockout cancelling the season, Klesla played with HC Vsetin of the Czech Extraliga, where he had seven goals and 24 points in 41 games. Klesla also played with HPK Hameenlinna of the SM-liiga, where he had a goal and three points in nine games, followed by two assists in 10 playoff games with the club.

Klesla returned to the Blue Jackets in 2005–06, where he had six goals and 19 points in only 51 games played. After the season, Klesla signed a four-year contract extension with the team.[1] On September 26, 2006, Klesla was suspended for two regular season games for a hit on the Chicago Blackhawks Tuomo Ruutu in a preseason game on September 22. Ruutu missed ten games due to a grade two sprain on his knee.[2] Klesla had a very solid 2006–07 season, as he was placed alongside Adam Foote as the Blue Jackets top defensive pairing after coach Ken Hitchcock was hired by the team. In 75 games, Klesla had nine goals and 22 points. In 2007–08, Klesla appeared in all 82 Blue Jacket games, scoring six goals and 18 points. In the off-season, teammate David Vyborny left the Blue Jackets, making Klesla the last remaining player from the Blue Jackets inaugural season.

During an injury shortened 2008–09 season, in which Klesla appeared in only 34 games, he scored a goal and nine points, helping Columbus to their first ever post-season appearance. In four playoff games, Klesla had an assist as the Detroit Red Wings swept the Blue Jackets. Injury problems plagued Klesla in the 2009–10 season, as he played in only 26 games, scoring two goals and eight points. In 2010–11, Klesla had three goals and 10 points in 45 games with Columbus. On February 28, 2011, the Blue Jackets traded Klesla and Dane Byers to the Phoenix Coyotes for Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto. He was referred to by fans (and the Blue Jackets' TV broadcast team) as "Rusty". He also used to end every interview with Jim Day of Fox Sports Net with variations of "Thank you, Jim Day." Klesla was the last Blue Jackets players from the team's first season (2000–01) still active on the team before he was traded in 2011.[3]

Phoenix Coyotes

On February 28, 2011, Rostislav Klesla was traded (along with Dane Byers) from Columbus to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for forward Scottie Upshall and defenseman Sami Lepisto.[3] Klesla went on to play 16 regular season and 4 playoff games for the Coyotes in 2011 and scored 1 goal.

Klesla suffered an injury in a September 15, 2013, pre-season game against the Los Angeles Kings and was taken off the ice on a stretcher. The hit was delivered by Kings' forward Jordan Nolan, who received four minutes in penalties and a 10-minute misconduct for the hit.[4]

On November 26, 2013, Klesla was placed on waivers by the Coyotes, and the following day he was sent down to play with the Coyotes’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Portland Pirates.[5] On December 19, 2013, Klesla was recalled to the Coyotes.[6] Klesla featured in 25 games with the Coyotes, primarily as an extra defenseman before on March 4, 2014, he was traded to the Capitals in a deal along with Chris Brown, and a 4th round pick in the 2015 NHL entry draft for Martin Erat and John Mitchell.[7]

Buffalo Sabres

On March 5, 2014, just one day after being traded to the Capitals, Klesla was traded to the Buffalo Sabres along with Michal Neuvirth for Jaroslav Halak and a 3rd-round pick.[8]

On March 8, 2014, Klesla decided to not report to the Sabres, stating, "[w]ith 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."[9] The Sabres suspended Klesla for not reporting to their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans.[10]

HC Oceláři Třinec

Klesla officially ended his NHL career, in returning to his Native Czech Republic, signing for a second stint with HC Oceláři Třinec on a two-year contract on June 25, 2014.[11]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1997–98 Opava Junior Czech Jr 38 11 18 29 87 8 2 2 4 0
1998–99 Sioux City Musketeers USHL 54 4 12 16 100 5 2 0 2 2
1999–00 Brampton Battalion OHL 67 16 29 45 174 6 1 1 2 21
2000–01 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 8 2 0 2 6
2000–01 Brampton Battalion OHL 45 18 36 54 59 9 2 9 11 26
2001–02 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 75 8 8 16 74
2002–03 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 72 2 14 16 71
2003–04 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 47 2 11 13 27
2004–05 HC Vsetin CZE 41 7 17 24 136
2004–05 HPK SM-l 9 1 2 3 12 10 0 2 2 12
2005–06 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 51 6 13 19 75
2006–07 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 75 9 13 22 105
2007–08 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 82 6 12 18 60
2008–09 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 34 1 8 9 38 4 0 1 1 0
2009–10 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 26 2 6 8 26
2010–11 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 45 3 7 10 26
2010–11 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 16 1 0 1 12 4 0 0 0 7
2011–12 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 65 3 10 13 54 15 2 6 8 4
2012–13 HC Oceláři Třinec CZE 18 0 1 1 30
2012–13 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 38 2 6 8 22
2013–14 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 25 1 3 4 24
2013–14 Portland Pirates AHL 21 3 6 9 16
NHL totals 659 48 111 159 620 23 2 7 9 11

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2001 Czech Republic WJC Gold medal icon.svg 7 3 4 7 4
2002 Czech Republic WC 5th 7 1 2 3 2
2007 Czech Republic WC 7th 4 1 0 1 8
Junior totals 7 3 4 7 4
Senior totals 11 2 2 4 10

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Klesla extends for four years". TSN. April 16, 2006. Retrieved April 10, 2010. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Ruutu suffers knee injury". TSN. September 26, 2006. Retrieved April 10, 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Portzline, Aaron (March 1, 2011). "Last of original Blue Jackets is traded for menacing winger, defenseman". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Coyotes’ Klesla leaves game on stretcher". Sportsnet. 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  5. ^ "Klesla clears waviers, sent to AHL". NBC Sports. 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  6. ^ "Coyotes Recall Klesla from AHL". Phoenix Coyotes. 2013-12-19. Retrieved 2013-12-19. 
  7. ^ "Caps trade disgruntled Erat to Coyotes for Klesla, Brown Caps trade Kesla to Sabres". The Sports Network. 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  8. ^ "Sabres send Halak to Washington". Buffalo News. 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  9. ^ "Klesla say he won't report to the Sabres after trade". TSN. 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  10. ^ "Sabres suspend newly acquired D Klesla for failing to report". TSN. 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  11. ^ "New support in defenseman Klesla for the Steelworkers" (in Czech). HC Ocelari Trinec. 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
None
Columbus Blue Jackets first round draft pick
2000
Succeeded by
Pascal Leclaire