Ondrej Kase scored his 16th goal of the season against the Blackhawks on Feb. 15 to contribute to a critical 3-2 victory in Chicago. In addition to that beautiful breakaway backhand goal, Kase also contributed with two assists on the other two Anaheim goals. This put his point total to 30 through 43 games.
22-year-old Ondrej Kase was drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NHL draft 205th overall. Few seventh-round picks ever see NHL ice let alone find themselves one of the leading scorers on an already successful club. Kase keeps scoring and has proven to be reliable to his coach, teammates, general manager and arguably most important, his fans.
It seemed as if Kase came out of nowhere as he entered the NHL and slowly became a regular. In his early career in Europe and the AHL, he didn’t make any noise or do anything special. A solid all-around player that seemed to fit the caliber being taken in the seventh-round.
Ducks general manager Bob Murray has been known around the NHL for finding diamonds in the rough. Combine that with the Ducks’ scouting team and their incredible ability to do their homework, the Ducks have found some very fine players in the draft and their success as a franchise has been molded around this front office skill set.
This season has been his breakout. Call it development, luck, skill or some miracle, Ondrej Kase has been blowing defenses out of the water with his speed and hockey sense. His highlight reel game originates from his speed and develops through his eyes and finishes with his puck handling.
Ondrej Kase gets the puck and he’s more often than not going to carry it down the ice. Once he’s gotten the puck to the blue line, a dump in can sometimes be the next step but even then Kase finds a way to get to the puck or pressure the opposing player that’s trying to break out of his own zone.
If a dump in isn’t necessary Kase gets the puck to a place that he likes to shoot from and fires it. Always creating offensive chances, Kase runs the Ducks goal scoring efforts whenever he is on the ice. Combine this with the skills of the newest Anaheim Duck, Adam Henrique, and Kase’s other linemate, the broad-shouldered Nick Ritchie, this line could be considered the Ducks best one in a while.
When it comes to Kase being all alone on the offensive, more often than not it’s game over for whatever net minder happens to be playing that day. Speed, puck handling and the ability to finish makes Kase a pure goal scorer when he is in behind the defense.
A beautiful example of Kase’s skill was put on display against the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-0 rout back in December. Watch it here.
As of right now it seems as if Ondrej Kase is only going to get better and he’s only 22. There is so much more potential left for this player that it is very possible that he could be an All-Star one day in the near or far future.
The Ducks found a gem in Ondrej Kase and should be than
king their lucky stars, or Bob Murray, that he wasn’t passed up. We’ve seen players like this in the past in all sports get overlooked time and time again only to be taken late in the draft. These players sometimes end up being franchise names that contribute to a team’s championship aspirations.
Many in Anaheim are hoping that Ondrej Kase becomes a house hold name as future franchise players for the Ducks like Rakell, Steel, Jones, Montour and Gibson prepare to take over in Anaheim and create a new era of Ducks hockey.
Video credits to Sportsnet.