BUFFALO – Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta said he can’t picture himself wearing a different jersey.
“Yeah, I would not like it at all,” the Angola native said Monday as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers inside the First Niagara Center.
Fresh off playing a career-high 63 games, the injury-prone agitator will be a restricted free agent this offseason.
The 25-year-old plays an aggressive checking style that began earning him big minutes in the winter.
He’s an asset, especially on Sabres team often short on grit.
But Kaleta can’t stay in the lineup, averaging only 55 games in full NHL seasons. His rough-and-tumble style is costly.
A broken thumb shelved him three late games. He finished playing with a cast.
“It’s not the most fun thing in the world having a cast pretty much every year,” Kaleta said. “But it’s the way I play. It’s going to happen from time to time. My job is to minimize the opportunity of getting hurt and the chances of that. It’s a work in progress.”
But will the Sabres re-sign someone they can’t always depend on nightly? Kaleta didn’t want to speculate.
“The season’s over,” he said. “I worked as hard as I could the whole season.”