The Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins improved their team tremendously this afternoon by acquiring Ondrej Kase from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for exchange struggling 35-year old David Backes, defenseman prospect Axel Andersson, and Boston’s 2020 1st round pick. Boston will also retain 25% of David Backes’ salary, as he carries a $6 million cap hit for the remainder of this season and next season.
Bruins GM Don Sweeny may have just acquired the Ducks’ best asset this trade deadline season, at a pretty low price. In our three years of data we have on him, Kase has posted positive seasons in all of them, including a Top 20 league-wide score of +6.66 in 2017-2018. Kase’s career AB score is an outstanding +2.91, and also has impressive taken/drawn and giveaway/takeaway ratios of 5:16 and 26:37 respectively. Kase has a $2.6 million salary as a 24-year old forward and has 1 year remaining on his current deal. Kase will fit in beautifully in Boston, as he will most likely play on a line centered by David Krejci (+2.6 Career AB score), and with Jake DeBrusk on his opposite wing (+14.55 Career AB score). The Bruins are on pace to have their fourth straight positive team AB season under Sweeny’s leadership, as the majority of the players on the Bs today are positive career AB players.
Trading David Backes’ contract is a huge accomplishment for Sweeny, as he clearly didn’t work out in Boston similar to how the rest of the players in the 2016 free agency class didn’t fit with their respective teams. Backes has a career AB score of +0.51 and has never registered below a -2.75 AB score for an individual season in his career. Despite his struggles in Boston, Backes had his best individual AB season last year with a +2.5 score since the 2011-2012 season, where he registered a +3.76 score. This season, in the limited games Backes has played with the Bruins, he had a 3:1 penalty taken/draw ratio, a 2:4 giveaway/takeaway ratio, -2 +/- number, and tallied 3 points in 16 games. Perhaps he was just in the wrong situation, and a change of scenery could be a positive thing in revitalizing his career. If he gets a chance to play with the Ducks, we could see him being a very good mentor to the many young Ducks currently on the roster, as Backes does have 82 games of playoff experience under his belt.
Axel Andersson was the Bruins’ 2nd round pick in the 2018 NHL draft and currently has 22 points in 41 games with Moncton of the QMJHL. We don’t expect the Bruins to stop dealing this deadline season, as they should continue to gear up to return to the playoffs to avenge their Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Finals to the St. Louis Blues last season. It will definitely be interesting to see what else GM Don Sweeny and the Boston Bruins decide to do before the February 24th trade deadline, as they continue to fight for the Atlantic Division, and perhaps the President’s Trophy. More to come.