In a bit of a surprise move, the Boston Bruins are going to furnish qualifying offers to each of their three top restricted free agents Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase and Zach Senyshyn, per Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.
The qualifying offer for Kase would be $2.6 million, which the oft-injured right winger would presumably accept for next season instead of negotiating a contract with the Bruins for the next few seasons. It’s certainly a richer amount of money than the 25-year-old Kase would make otherwise after being limited to nine games with the Boston Bruins over the last two seasons due to concussion issues. The hope would be, of course, that Kase could finally stay healthy long enough to develop into the top-6 right winger capable of creating his own shot that they thought they were getting when he was acquired from Anaheim.
But that has yet to happen with zero goals for Kase in the regular season or playoff since his arrival, and just five assists in 20 total games regular season and postseason.
Kase missed essentially the entire season after suffering a concussion following a collision with Miles Wood in the second game of the year, and then was out for the playoffs again with injury after suiting up for one game vs. the Islanders at the end of the regular season.
“With [Kase] this year, it’s been a lot of wait and see, and that’s what we’re back to again,” said Bruce Cassidy at the time as the Boston Bruins were preparing for the playoffs.
The worst-case scenario for Kase would be that he ends up on injured reserve once again, but that money does come off the salary cap if he winds up on long term injured reserve again this coming season.
At this point it might be a desperate move by the Bruins to simply salvage some value out of Kase after literally netting nothing from him in two seasons after giving up Danton Heinen in exchange for him.
It’s a $2 million qualifying offer for Ritchie coming off a career-high 15 goals for the 25-year-old Ritchie in just 56 games last season, but the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Ritchie has arbitration rights and surely would sign for more than that in a new contract with Boston.
It’s a $700,000 qualifying offer for Senyshyn, who was scoreless in eight games with Boston last season after stepping up his offense at the AHL level in an encouraging sign for the 24-year-old right winger. Truth be told, though, the reason the Bruins have required trades and free agent signings to patch a right wing need is because Senyshyn has never been able to develop into the Chris Kreider-type player they envisioned him to be when they drafted him in the first round.
The Boston Bruins have roughly $25 million in salary cap space per our friends at PuckPedia and are in a position to retain their own players and improve their hockey club immensely if they spend the cap space wisely this offseason.