The reasons for the Anaheim Ducks claiming Pontus Aberg are becoming even more clear, as the team today announced that Ondrej Kase suffered a concussion in the final preseason game and has no timetable for his return. Brian Gibbons has been cleared to play after suffering a bone bruise, but Josh Cooper of The Athletic reports that Ryan Kesler will not play in the opener and Patrick Eaves was not at practice today.
The Ducks of course are already without Corey Perry for the next several months at least, and still have not signed restricted free agent Nick Ritchie. Any team in the league would be desperately trying to find replacements at this point, given their decimated depth on the wing the last few weeks. Kase, the latest to go down, broke out last season with a 20-goal campaign and is an integral part of their offense. The seventh-round pick recorded 38 points in just 66 games and was expected by some to even eclipse that total this season given the opportunity presenting itself, but this injury will quickly put a damper on those projections.
Obviously there could be a quick recovery in this case, but head injuries can affect players long after they are medically cleared to play. If Kase does return to the lineup soon, there’s no telling how effective he’ll be in an increased role. Instead, the Ducks will have to find offense from some different sources which could include rookie Sam Steel, who is still with the club for the time being.