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Rostislav Klesla
RKlesla.jpg
Born March 21, 1982 (1982-03-21) (age 35)
Nový Jičín, Czechoslovakia
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Phoenix Coyotes
Columbus Blue Jackets
National team Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Czech Republic
NHL Draft 4th overall, 2000
Columbus Blue Jackets
Playing career 2000–present

Rostislav Klesla (born on March 21, 1982) is a Czech professional ice hockey defenceman. He is currently playing with the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Rostislav 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.

Playing CareerEdit

Junior Hockey CareerEdit

Czech Republic

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

Sioux City Musketeers

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

Brampton Battalion

Rostislav moved to the Brampton Battalion of the OHL for the 1999–2000 season. In 67 games with Brampton, he 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, Rostislav had a goal and two points. He returned to the Battalion in 2000–01 season, having a break out season offensively. In 45 games, he had 18 goals and 54 points. He then added two goals and 11 points in nine playoff games. Rostislav also played for the Czech Republic in the 2001 World Junior Hockey Championship, where he had three goals and seven points in seven games.

NHL CareerEdit

Columbus Blue Jackets

Rostislav 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 Rostislav 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, he played for the Czech Republic in the World Hockey Championship, where he had a goal and three points in seven games.

Rostislav 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, Rostislav played with HC Vsetin of the Czech Extraliga, where he had seven goals and 24 points in 41 games. He 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.

Rostislav returned to the Blue Jackets in 2005–06, where he had six goals and 19 points in only 51 games played. After the season, he signed a four-year contract extension with the team.

On September 26, 2006, Rostislav 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.

Rostislav 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, he had nine goals and 22 points.

In 2007–08, Rostislav 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 Rostislav the last remaining player from the Blue Jackets inaugural season.

During an injury shortened 2008–09 season, in which Rostislav 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, he had an assist as the Detroit Red Wings swept the Blue Jackets. Injury problems plagued Rostislav in the 2009–10 season, as he played in only 26 games, scoring two goals and eight points.

In 2010–11, Rostislav had three goals and 10 points in 45 games with Columbus. On February 28, 2011, the Blue Jackets traded him and Dane Byers to the Phoenix Coyotes for Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto.

Rostislav 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." He 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.

Phoenix Coyotes

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

Rostislav 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.

On November 26, 2013, Rostislav was placed on waivers by the Coyotes and the following day he was sent down to play with the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. On December 19, 2013, he was recalled to the Coyotes.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular Season and PlayoffsEdit

    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
NHL totals 634 47 108 155 596 23 2 7 9 11

International StatisticsEdit

Year Team Comp   GP G A Pts PIM
2001 Czech Republic WJC 7 3 4 7 4
2002 Czech Republic WC 7 1 2 3 2
2007 Czech Republic WC 4 1 0 1 8
International totals 18 5 6 11 14

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