Carolina Hurricanes Sign Ondrej Kase to 1-Year Contract

It was a busy day of comings and goings for the Carolina Hurricanes, but Wednesday night, they agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract with forward Ondrej Kase.

Kase has been hampered with injuries and concussions over the last couple of seasons, but when healthy, he’s proven that he can be a consistent scorer in the NHL.

What the Hurricanes Are Getting

Carolina will be Kase’s fourth team in the last four years. He scored a career-high 20 goals with 38 points in 2017-18 with the Anaheim Ducks when he played in a career-high 66 games. In 198 games for the Ducks, who drafted him 205th overall in the 2014 Entry Draft, he had 43 goals and 53 assists. He was traded to the Boston Bruins in February of 2020, but played in just six games with an assist before the season was paused because of the coronavirus in March. When the Bruins went to the Toronto playoff bubble over the summer, he had four assists in 11 games.

Ondrej Kase Toronto Maple Leafs
New Carolina forward Ondrej Kase with the Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

After the Bruins did not give him a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent (RFA) last summer, he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs as an unrestricted free agent (UFA) on a one-year, $1.25 million deal. He was productive in 2021-22 with 14 goals and 13 assists in 50 games, but once again, he suffered a concussion and missed some time again. The Maple Leafs did not give him a qualifying offer by Monday’s 5 pm. deadline which allowed him to become a UFA again. When healthy, he’s a good middle-six forward for coach Rod Brind’Amour.

Carolina Has Been Busy

Carolina lost center Vincent Trocheck in free agency earlier in the day when he agreed to a seven-year contract, with an annual average value (AAV) of $5.625 million. They were, however, very active on the trade front late Wednesday. They first acquired defensemen, Brent Burns, from the San Jose Sharks, then landed Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan from the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas needed to make a deal with Pacioretty involved to become cap compliant and the Hurricanes gladly took him on for the 2022-23 season.

Related: 2022 NHL Free Agent Signing Tracker

Those moves were necessary by general manager (GM) Don Waddell after Trocheck landed with the Rangers and made them stronger in the Metropolitan Division. Free agent Johnny Gaudreau has yet to name his new landing spot, but reports are that it’s down to the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. If he ends up in New Jersey, the Devils will have had themselves a solid free agency with some of the additions they made. After winning the Metropolitan Division in 2021-22, the Hurricanes will have a tougher battle on their hands this upcoming season, but they won’t relinquish the division without a fight.

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