Friday, February 21, 2020

NHL Trade Review: Bruins acquire Kase, unload Backes



           The Boston Bruins have acquired forward Ondrej Kase from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward David Backes, defenseman Axel Andersson and a 2020 1st round draft pick. The Bruins also retained $1.5 million, or 25% of Backes' contract.

           The Bruins need a right winger. Behind superstar David Pastrnak, the Bruins do not have a pure right winger worthy of top-nine minutes. Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle can play on the right side, but they aren't primary right wingers. Chris Wagner and Karson Kuhlman aren't really second or third liners. Kase is very underrated, but always injured. He has missed the last five games, not with an injury but with an illness. While he likely won't be able to play tonight, he should be healthy to play in Boston's game tomorrow in Vancouver. He is having a down season this year, was hurt in 2018-19, but scored 20 goals in a breakout 2017-18 season. Trading a first round pick and a prospect for Kase may seem harsh, but he is just 24, and has another season left under contract at a reasonable $2.6 million cap hit. When his contract is up, he will still be an RFA. Plus, sacrificing a first round pick was necessary for getting rid of Backes' contract. I see it as Andersson for Kase, and the first to get rid of Backes. Andersson was Boston's second round pick in 2018. He adds to the Ducks' stash of defensive prospects that has seen NHLers come out of it like Shea Theodore, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Montour in recent years. The young defenseman went from the Swedish League to the QMJHL this offseason. Backes signed a five year, $30 million contract with Boston in the 2016 offseason, and has significantly under-performed during it. He has one more year left with a cap hit of $4.5 million after the salary retention. He was with the AHL's Providence Bruins before the trade, but was not playing with them, due to an agreement with management. However, Backes is healthy and ready to play in the NHL.

            Kase, 24, has seven goals with 16 assists for 23 points in 49 games for the Ducks this year. In his NHL career, all in Anaheim, the former 7th rounder has scored 43 goals with 53 assists for 96 points in 198 games. He has just 44 penalty minutes in that time.

            Backes, 35, has scored one goal with two assists for three points in 16 games for the Bruins this year. In his NHL career for the Bruins and St. Louis Blues, the former second rounder has scored 245 goals with 309 assists for 554 points in 944 games. Unlike Kase, Backes has racked up over 100 penalty minutes in a season five times, with a career total of 1138.

           Andersson, 20, has scored two goals with 20 assists for 22 points in 41 games for the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats this year. For the Swedish League's Sodertalje SK last year, Andersson had five points, all assists, in 41 games.

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