The Boston Bruins have had a lot of concerns with the depth of their forward group for several seasons now. We have seen this team make trades at the deadline for the last few seasons in an attempt to bolster the roster for a playoff run. Rick Nash, Marcus Johansson, and Charlie Coyle have all been big names Boston has acquired to improve the odds of winning a Stanley Cup. This year, they have made a trade with the Anaheim Ducks that will send Ondrej Kase to Beantown.
Breaking Down The Ondrej Kase Trade
Kase’s Role Wearing the Spoked B
Boston’s lack of depth in their forward group has hindered their ability to compete when opponents find a way to shut down the Perfection Line. Ondrej Kase completely changes the dynamic, as Boston now boasts one of the best forward groups in the NHL. Kase will fit in nicely alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk on the second line. He also comes somewhat cheap, at only $2.6 million per year. Kase’s current contract does run through next season as well. That gives Boston has the luxury of keeping him for another year. It is worth noting that Kase will also be a restricted free agent when his deal expires.
Boston gave up several key assets to bring Kase into the fold. The two pieces that Anaheim was clearly after were the first-round draft pick and defenceman prospect Axel Andersson. With Boston currently holding the top spot in the league standings, the draft pick will definitely not be a lottery pick and will probably be near the end of the draft. Axel Andersson was a second-round draft selection by Boston in 2018. Andersson plays a similar game to Torey Krug. He has excellent puck-moving skills and is a strong skater at the blue line. He will be a highly valuable asset for Anaheim should he continue to develop well.
The trade does not only favour Anaheim in terms of what was sent to California. Not only was Boston able to improve their forward group, but they were able to get rid of David Backes. While 25% of his contract was retained, it gives Don Sweeney much more room to work with when it comes to re-signing the Bruins upcoming free agents in the offseason. Backes was a valuable leader for Boston when he first arrived. He has since declined to the point where he is no longer an NHL calibre player on a loaded roster. He might find playing time in Anaheim but will also be an excellent mentor for any of Anaheim’s young talent who hope to try and make a name for themselves.
New Stanley Cup Chances
The Eastern Conference is arguably the toughest it has been in years. In order for Boston to compete, they need to be able to beat teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Washington Capitals. All four of these teams are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders and have the talent needed to get the job done. Before this trade, Boston could have been considered one of the weaker of these four due to the lack of depth in the offensive end.
Now they have established themselves as a frontrunner. The St. Louis Blues found a way to shut down the Perfection Line in the Stanley Cup Finals last season. That led to Boston’s eventual downfall. The lack of high-quality talent outside of the top line dragged them down. Kase fills that need and brings more high-level scoring to the table. The second line right wing spot has been filled by many different players over the last few seasons and now the job could be Kase’s for the foreseeable future.