Ramblings: Hat tricks for Eberle and Spurgeon; Rangers rolling; dive on Kase

Michael Clifford

2020-02-22

The big news from Friday was Boston's acquisition of Ondrej Kase from Anaheim. That team has been looking to adequately fill its second-line right wing spot for years now and no one has really been able to make a lasting impact, Kase might be that guy.

You can read Ian's take on the Kase trade here.

Normally when trades happen on days when I'm not covering, I'll just kind of let the person whose day it was to cover just take the ball. Kase, though, is kind of a special player for me. He's a guy whose virtues have been extolled at length by myself and others over the years. Let's go back a bit through his career.

As mentioned, he's been a favourite around here for a while. It basically goes back to his 2016-17 season even though he managed just five goals and 15 points in 53 games that year. It was a small sample but he had good play-driving numbers, had shot and expected goal rates similar to Rickard Rakell, and did so skating down the lineup with lesser line mates. The reason for getting excited was that, at the time, the team was starting to turn over and it seemed very likely that Kase was the top-line winger of the future for the Ducks. That meant fantasy owners could potentially land a top-line winger for the 2017-18 season very late in drafts.

The 2017-18 season could be seen as his breakout year, even if he failed to crack 40 points. He did manage 20 goals, and did so while getting very little power-play exposure; he played just 1:16 per game at 5-on-4, yet still finished second on the team in goals per 60 minutes at all strengths (1.31), finishing just behind Rickard Rakell (1.35). Kase did lead the team in shots per 60 minutes at all strengths, so yes, this was basically Kase's breakout season, even if he failed to crack 14 minutes a night in ice time. He had made good on his promise, even in a lesser role without playing a full season due to injury (66 games).

We now had parts of two seasons and had seen both improvement and impact from Kase. League-wide, his two-year average WAR/60 minutes (from