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Tampa Bay Lightning Offseason Target: Skilled Czech Forward

The Tampa Bay Lightning offseason is officially underway and will be interesting to watch. Over the last decade, the Bolts have been the gold standard for winning in the National Hockey League. With back-to-back first-round exits to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers, respectively, the Lightning have already made changes this summer. General Manager Julien BriseBois acquired Ryan McDonagh in a trade with the Nashville Predators. However, the team still needs more help with forwards. The Lightning have limited options due to limited cap space, but one player seeking a return to the NHL for the 2024-25 season stands out. Ondrej Kase appears to be a marvelous target for Tampa Bay this summer, and here’s why.

Who the Tampa Bay Lightning Target This Offseason: Ondrej Kase

Ondrej Kase has played just one game in the National Hockey League over the past two seasons but he might be ready to return. Recurring neurological issues have kept Kase out of the best league in the world. The skilled forward continues to gain interest from multiple NHL teams for a return next season. Before his concussion issues, Kase was a spectacular middle-six forward with elite analytics. In seven games at the 2024 IIHF World Championship, Kase has two goals and three assists for five points. Furthermore, Kase scored 23 goals and 31 assists for 54 points in 48 games as an assistant captain for HC Litvínov in the Czech Extraliga this season.

The Czech forward has experience with four clubs over his shortened 258-game career. His last full season stint in the NHL hockey came with the Maple Leafs in 2021-22, where Kase recorded 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points in 50 games under Sheldon KeefeThroughout his career, the winger has 57 goals and 67 assists for 124 points. At just 28 years old, Kase must be on the Lightning’s radar to bolster the forward core next season.

Ondrej Kase Scouting Report

Kase’s Strengths

Kase is an uber-talented forward with silky hands and offensive instincts. Moreover, the winger is a dual threat as a passer and shooter. The Czech is famous for his classic forehand to backhand deke on breakaways. He’s mastered this move and beat goalies at every level with his deception and poise. On top of solid offensive abilities, Kase is responsible on the defensive side of the puck. The two-way forward offers defensive upside and middle-six scoring, but what is there not to like about Kase’s game?

Kase’s Weaknesses

The only concerns with Kase’s game are his quality of competition and injury history. Kase primarily faced bottom-six competition and was not challenged at the NHL level. However, the Lightning needs depth forwards at a cost-effective price for next season. The good news is that Kase tears up the weaker competition with his skill and speed. While the injury history is not pretty, there is no reason the Bolts should not offer Kase a contract along with the other 31 teams in the NHL. After all, Tampa Bay is a desirable place to play with no state income tax and warm weather.

Where Kase Works in the Tampa Bay Lineup

While Kase has minimal exposure to top-six competition in the NHL, his speed and skill make him a potential fill-in player in case of an injury. However, Kase is the ideal third-line forward for the Lightning. With Nick Paul as his centre, Kase can speed up the game for his power forward. He adds immense skill and speed to a weak Tampa Bay bottom-six. Depth scoring appeared to be an issue for the Lightning in the playoffs, and the 28-year-old could improve this weakness of the team. We are happy to see Ondrej Kase healthy once again and ready for an NHL return. He is a fantastic hockey player for any team to have.

Main photo credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports


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