As many of you know by now the Bruins made a trade earlier today. The Bruins sent their 2020 first-round pick, David Backes, and defenseman prospect Axel Anderson to the Ducks for forward Ondrej Kase. This trade accomplished the goals of moving Backes and his contract as well as getting a second line forward. The Bruins will retain $1.5 Million of salary from Backes’ contract with Kase coming in with a $2.6 Million cap hit For a savings of just under $2 Million. That’s enough about the trade, the rest of this article will introduce you to the newest member of the Boston Bruins.
A Brief History
Kase was a seventh-round pick by the Ducks back in 2014. Even though he was one of the top-ranked European skaters, his size and struggles in the top Czech league caused some questions about his NHL readiness. Kase made his AHL debut in the 2015-16 season playing in 25 games, scoring eight goals with 14 points. The following season, after 12 points in 14 AHL games Kase earned his first call up to the NHL. Ondrej used his high energy and hockey smarts to stay with the big club playing 53 games. His limited ice time hurt his production, and he was only able to score five goals and fifteen points.
Kase entered the 2017-18 season with an increased role as he continued to show flashes of his immense potential. By the end of the season Ondrej had earned a spot on the second line, developing some great chemistry with center Adam Henrique. Kase finished his minor breakout season with 20 goals and 38 points in 66 games. The 2018-19 season looked like the sky was the limit, but a concussion in the final preseason game cause Kase to miss the first 18 games of the season. Once back in the lineup Kase became one of the Ducks most consistent sources of offense, scoring 11 goals and 20 points in 30 games. Unfortunately, the injury bug would bite him once again and a torn rotator cuff would end his season. Looking to prove last season’s production was not a fluke, Kase entered this season with high expectations. The long rehab in the offseason contributed to a very slow start for the promising forward, who has played in 49 games with only seven goals and 23 points. The good news is it looks like Kase is finally rounding into form with nine points in his last thirteen games.
Not surprisingly it will be a few days till we actually see Kase on the ice in a Bruins uniform. The forward has been battling the flu and has missed the last handful of games even before the trade. As of now he will join the team in Boston for Monday’s practice, and depending on how he does could be in the lineup Tuesday against the Flames. Kase projects as the Bruins second-line right wing for years to come. With his combination of blazing speed and a dangerous shot Kase should be a 20 to 30 goal scorer, especially with Krejci feeding him the puck. His hard-working mentality earned him the moniker of energizer bunny while with the Ducks, and that quality should carry over. If Kase is able to stay healthy he will provide some much-needed scoring depth to the Bruins lineup. In addition to taking a spot on the second line, Kase should also find a role on the Bruins second power play. While with the Ducks Ondrej’s five on five play never translated to a consistent role on the power play, so with time on the man advantage his numbers should improve even more.
The Bruins could walk away with the steal of the deadline if Kase is able to finally stay healthy. Kase comes with some playoff experience, and while it was in a limited role he does have two goals in 13 games. The Bruins and Kase will be looking for him to improve on those numbers to make a deep playoff run. A solid end of the season and a strong playoff performance could set Ondrej for a breakout season next year. With a full offseason to develop chemistry with his linemates Kase could be a threat to top 30 goals and score 60 plus points. Kase will still be an RFA after his next season, giving the Bruins the ability to match any offers Kase receives if he isn’t extended before his contract is up. If Kase again has injury issues, or doesn’t meet expectations, the Bruins can let him sign an offer sheet and collect some draft picks for the future. This seems very unlikely, however, considering the potential Kase has with his improved linemates. Get ready to buy some Kase jerseys because he should be a cornerstone for years to come. If you want to stay up to date on all things Boston sports check out our other team pages, as well as giving our Facebook, and Twitter pages a like and follow.
Featured image courtesy of Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America