Don Sweeney now has made a deal at the NHL trade deadline in each of his four-plus seasons as Boston Bruins general manager, and as has been the case at times in the past, this one came out of nowhere.
The Bruins on Friday acquired winger Ondrej Kase from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick, prospect Axel Andersson and winger David Backes.
Kase hadn’t been connected to the Bruins in any trade rumors, and the move kind of comes out of nowhere. That has become Sweeney’s way of doing business recently, as there wasn’t much chatter about Charlie Coyle or Marcus Johansson before last year’s deadline and both landed in Boston.
So it’s not like we’ve spent a lot of time digging into Kase recently, but here’s what you need to know about the 24-year-old winger (it’s pronounced kah-SHEH, by the way) .
Position: Right winger (right shot)
Size: 5-foot-11, 186 pounds
Draft: seventh-round pick, 2014 (out of Czech Republic)
2019-20 stats: seven goals, 16 assists in 49 games, 16:47 of ice time per game
Contract status: Three-year, $7.8 million ($2.6 million cap hit), signed through 2020-21 when he’ll become a restricted free agent
Injury status: Hasn’t played since Feb. 7 after taking a hit to the head, with the team saying he had flu-like symptoms … he played just 30 games last season and was shut down in January for surgery on a torn labrum … has never played more than 66 games in a season
THEY SAID IT
Kase on his style of play (The Athletic, November 2019): “That’s my play,” said Kase, who has worked hard to grasp his command of the English language. “I like to be everywhere. Win the pucks and battle everybody. It doesn’t matter who it is. (Zdeno) Chara or somebody else. I just like to win the puck. When I don’t have the puck, I want to get it.”
Ducks coach Dallas Eakins amid Kase’s scoring drought earlier this season (The Athletic, January): “It was something that he was looking for even though he’s got five goals right now, he certainly has the potential to score over 20. And I do think he does have a little bit of streakiness in him. Hopefully, that’s going to turn into bigger things for him, which turns into bigger things for us.
“He’s had lots of chances. The odds, the analytics, whatever you want to go on, he should have more goals. We can break it down on an individual one. What was this? Was it a just-missed-the-net? A great save? Whatever it is. But the reality is he’s getting lots of chances, and that will eventually equate to more goals.”
If Kase is healthy, he should provide value to the Bruins’ forward group. Obviously, given his past, health is the biggest question for the winger. It will be very interesting to see whether he ultimately lands on the Bruins’ second line where there’s an obvious need at right wing, and it will be fascinating to see what kind of chemistry he can build with countryman David Krejci. Perhaps the biggest benefit of this trade is the payroll flexibility it creates, meaning Sweeney might not be done dealing before Monday’s trade deadline.
Oh, and if nothing else, he can do this, which is a welcomed sight for a Bruins team that is 0-7 in the shootout this year.
— NHL (@NHL) December 8, 2016
Thumbnail photo via Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports Images