Boston Bruins

Feb 27, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts: Boston Bruins right wing Ondrej Kase (28) skates the puck against the Dallas Stars during the first period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Off to the second round for the fourth straight year, the Boston Bruins seem cautiously optimistic that they’ll get at least one or two of their injured bodies on the backend back for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But in the case of winger Ondrej Kase, whose most recent comeback attempt lasted just two periods, the door on a return to action this summer has been closed, and it’s off to the great unknown of next season and beyond.

“No,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Monday when asked about Kase’s availability this postseason. “Ondrej has shut it down as well and will not be part of availability for us going forward in the playoffs.”

Injured in the second game of the season when he took contact from the Devils’ Miles Wood up high, Kase missed 52 games with concussion issues before returning to the B’s lineup on May 10. But when that comeback didn’t take, the Bruins first believed that Kase was dealing with simple ‘conditioning’ issues, but later acknowledged that they were back to square one when it came to Kase’s health after he failed to make it back on the ice for any practices or even solo skates.

The bad news (beyond the obvious) of those setbacks is that Kase and the Bruins did absolutely everything they could to make Kase’s jump back into the fire of NHL game action a smooth one. They didn’t put a timetable of any sort on him, and Kase was upfront about how he felt, at one point even going back on his own belief that he was finally ready after feeling unwell. And, still, his return lasted all of 6:49.

Kase’s concussion woes are not new. He arrived to Boston with a substantial injury history, and it’s believed that this latest concussion was his fifth documented concussion in his professional career. At just 25, that’s downright terrifying.

And what this means for Kase, who has appeared in 20 total games (nine regular season, 11 playoff) with the Bruins, will be something to watch this offseason.

A pending restricted free agent, a qualifying offer sent Kase’s way would cost the Bruins $2.6 million. That will almost certainly not happen, as potentially paying a complete question mark $2.6 million just doesn’t seem like something that would be in their wheelhouse given the other, higher-priced decisions coming this offseason. (Calls on pending free agents Taylor Hall, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask top Sweeney’s offseason priority list.)

But it will be interesting to see if the B’s, who parted with a 2020 first-round pick and prospect Axel Andersson to acquire Kase (and ditch the David Backes contract), have an interest in bringing Kase back on a ‘lottery ticket’ of deal for one year and minimal money. The Bruins have always appreciated what a healthy Kase can bring to their lineup, and though that’s been an obvious problem, if it can be retained for a fraction of his current salary, you’d have to think the B’s would explore that.

That decision may also come down to Kase’s health, however, as the Czech wing, who has made over $9 million in his career, is almost certainly hitting a career crossroads where he may have to put his long-term health above his job.

Kase has totaled five assists in 20 games with the Bruins, and 43 goals and 97 points in 207 career games between the Ducks and Bruins since the 2016-17 season.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.

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