By: Jack Gotsell | Follow me on Twitter @jackgotsell
Ondrej Kase was not the reason why the Bruins were eliminated from the playoffs but the Bruins choosing to acquire him was. Blake Coleman was acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Kyle Palmeri stayed put in New Jersey. Those are two players that could have made an impact on the Boston Bruins. Instead, we sit here in the off-season, still needing to acquire some secondary-scoring being among the primary concerns.
There are some positives to Kase’s game, and he could be an asset moving forward. However, the negatives are clear and need to be addressed by the Bruins organization. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly truths about the Bruins’ decision to acquire Ondrej Kase.
The Corsi loves Kase because he is good in his defensive zone and can create a lot of chances. In 49 games for Anaheim this season, he had 54.66 CF%. Kase has speed and can push the pace to create lots of opportunities. For a smaller player, Kase can find space and get open and has created many chances while he is on the ice.
The 24-year old right-wing can shoot the puck at will. The Bruins were struggling to get shots on net these playoffs in the second round, and Kase was one exception to that. Kase also can go into the dirty areas and come away with the puck more often than not.
Kase is an all-around forward with speed, a quick and happy trigger finger, the ability to be hard and come away with the puck possesses the ability to maintain puck possession in his offensive zone, and has a solid defensive game. For a 24-year old player, he has a ton going for him. The question, however, looms, is he a top-six forward?
Kase had a history of not being able to finish in Anaheim. Nothing he’s done since he arrived here is an indication that he can change that. Getting the puck to the net has never been a concern for Kase. Unfortunately, just getting the puck on the net does not show up on the scoreboard; scoring goals does, which is an area where Kase has struggled. Krejci needs a finisher, and unless Kase becomes that, he’s wasting space on the second line.
Can Kase change and become a contributor on the second line? Not so sure, and his commitment to the game is in question after the poor decision he made before Boston entered into the Toronto bubble. With a global pandemic going on, Kase decided to involve himself in an unsanctioned workout and saw himself quarantined and unable to skate with the Bruins for almost all of the team activities leading up to and including the first two round-robin games. That poor decision makes you question his commitment and caused him to not be in the greatest shape for the playoffs.
To sum up, the bad Kase is injury prone and has a concussion history that is out of his control. He missed playing time when he first arrived in Boston dealing with an injury and sickness. This is not the first time Kase has missed playing time due to injury, as much of his days in Anaheim were spent on the disabled list. In 2018-2019 he missed 18 games with a concussion, played in 30 games, and then missed the rest of the season with a torn labrum.
The ugly truth is that we moved out of the first round of this year’s NHL draft and gave up prospect Axel Anderson for Kase. Cushioning this blow, we also moved four and a half million of David Backes six million dollar contract. However, in making this move, Sweeney looked to sure up Krejci’s right side of the second line.
It turns out that there is still a hole to be filled on the Bruins second line and that Kase may not be the guy the Bruins were looking for. Krejci and DeBrusk need a finisher, and that’s not Kase. Kase appears to be more of a third-line player with his inability to finish at a top-six level.
It turns out that there is still a hole to be filled on the Bruins second line and that Kase may not be the guy the Bruins were looking for. Krejci and DeBrusk need a finisher, and that’s not Kase. Kase appears to be more of a third-line player with his inability to finish at a top-six level. Don Sweeney will look to make significant changes this off-season based on his press conferences to create secondary scoring. There will be limited cap space with the need to re-sign Matt Grzelcyk and fill the void that looks like it will be left by Torey Krug and possibly Zdeno Chara. They may look to re-sign DeBrusk at a reasonable price this off-season.
If DeBrusk and the Bruins cannot come to terms, there is the possibility of DeBrusk being shipped out of town and the Bruins trying to build their second line from scratch with center David Krejci in the last year of his contract. The ugly truth is the Kase experiment looks like a failure. Not to say he can’t be a great third line wing, but he is not looking like a top-six player on a Stanley Cup contending team in the present. Kase is not the caliber player of Nathan Horton or Marcus Johansson and is not the right-wing the Bruins have been seeking for years.