Could the Boston Bruins end up reuniting David Pastrnak with Anaheim Ducks winger Ondrej Kase, who played with Pastrnak on the Czech National Team at the 2014 and 2015 World Junior U20 Championships?
As reported here numerous times and most recently on January 18, the Bruins and the Ducks have been scouting each other for a while now and engaged in what until recently, have been exploratory trade talks. According to one NHL source though, the Bruins seem to be zoning in on Kase, a 24-year-old winger from Kadan, Czech Republic who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the same draft that the Bruins selected Pastrnak 25th overall.
Kase, who is in his fourth NHL season, has six goals and 13 assists in 43 games. His best season so far was in 2017-18 when he lit the lamp 20 times and added 18 helpers in 66 games. Kase was hampered by injuries last season, playing just 30 games and scoring 11 goals to go with nine assists.
The Ducks have been open for business for at least a month now and they have let it be known that Kase – who is in the second year of a three-year contract that carries a $2.6 million cap hit – is available for the right price. According to this source, Ducks GM Bob Murray and Bruins GM Don Sweeney have now discussed what that price may be.
As referenced in the linked article above, Sportsnet analyst Elliotte Friedman reported in his 31 Thoughts column two weeks ago, that Murray is willing to “use his cap space to ease other clubs’ salary issues”. The Ducks have $9.1 million in cap space while the Bruins have $4.6 million after waiving Brett Ritchie and David Backes. This also includes the $2.5 million cap hit for defenseman Kevan Miller they’re using on long-term injury reserve. Would Murray be willing to take on the rest of this season and the $4.9 million cap hit Backes carries for next season?
There has been no word on exactly whom Murray might be targeting from the Bruins, but considering he and the Ducks are set to embark on what many expect will be a complete rebuild, he will want to replenish his system via draft picks and NHL-ready or close-to-ready prospects. The Bruins definitely have the latter to offer but could a bigger trade be possible?
If the Ducks would take Backes, could and would the Bruins actually be willing to also take salary back. Ducks defenseman and alternate captain Josh Manson has been bandied about in trade rumors and the 6-foot-3, 224-pound former Northeastern University rearguard, could bring size and grit to the Bruins’ third pairing should Miller be unable to return or have another setback. Manson does have two seasons left on a contract that carries a $4.1 million cap hit, but there’s a very solid chance that the Bruins let Miller walk into free agency next July. The Ducks could always buy Backes out next summer and gain solid cap space with him, Manson and Kase off the books.