The Boston Bruins made their first move of NHL trade deadline season Friday by acquiring forward Ondrej Kase from the Anaheim Ducks in a deal that received positive reviews by several hockey experts.
Kase is a 24-year-old player with impressive offensive skill who also plays a hard-nosed style defensively despite his lack of size. The ideal scenario for Kase in Boston is that he fills the right wing spot on the second line alongside center David Krejci and left winger Jake DeBrusk. In fact, Kase skated with Krejci and DeBrusk at Monday's practice.
Not only did the Bruins acquire a quality young forward with another year on his contract in Kase, they also were able to unload David Backes' horrible contract as part of the trade with the Ducks.
Sean Tierney of The Athletic put together a detailed chart (in the second tweet shown below) that shows Kase was pretty undervalued at the trade deadline. It also helps illustrate that acquiring Kase, despite concerns over his ability to consistently stay healthy, was a gamble worth taking by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.
This Kase-to-BOS trade would've made more sense if ANA was the one dumping Backes. Instead, BOS got middle-six help /and/ unloaded a problem contract, paying only a late 1st and a mid-range DEF prospect to do so.— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) February 24, 2020
Love this for BOS. pic.twitter.com/kM3arNKAmJ
The higher up in the charts a player ranks, the better. In the on-ice chart, Kase does well to drive puck possession, as evidenced by his high Corsi-For percentage. This means the Ducks controlled above 50 percent of all shot attempts when Kase was on the ice at 5-on-5.
His goals circle is red because he hasn't found the back of the net as often as you'd expect from a player whose team controls puck possession at a high rate. Kase has a lackluster 5.2 shooting percentage this season, which is well below his career rate. He's suffered from a lack of puck luck, and in the likely event that goes up, Boston will benefit.
His WAR (wins above replacement) chart also is pretty positive. Kase ranks well above a replacement-level player in both penalties taken and penalties drawn. Transitions is another area where Kase can help the B's. His ability to execute a clean zone entry into offensive end of the ice is a valuable skill.
Kase tallied 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 49 games for the Ducks this season.