The Anaheim Ducks’ playoff odds just took a major hit. The team has announced this evening that young forward Ondrej Kase suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder in last Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. The injury will require surgery, scheduled for next week, and Kase will miss the next five to six months for recovery. His season is over.
Kase, 23, had been on pace for the best season of his career despite missing 20 games already. In the 30 games he had played for the Ducks, Kase has registered 20 points and trailed only Ryan Getzlaf in points-per-game for the team. Kase is developing into dynamic right wing and a dependable one at that. In the first season of a three-year extension worth $2.6MM against the cap each year, Kase is already looking like an immense bargain for Anaheim. However, the concern moving forward is whether the upstart Czech winger can stay healthy.
Yet, the more pressing concern for the Ducks is their fate this season. GM Bob Murray has been busy lately reshaping his roster for a playoff push, but he likely won’t be able to replace Kase’s production internally and probably will be unwilling to pay the price to replace him via trade. Fortunately, Corey Perry, Patrick Eaves, and Jakob Silfverberg should all be back in the lineup sooner rather than later, providing a nice boost up front. However, Anaheim is one of seven teams currently competing for just two wild card spots in the Western Conference and likely needed their team at full strength – including Kase – to ensure they were able to secure a playoff berth. This injury could convince Murray to swing another deal or instead could switch the Ducks into selling mode. Only time will tell, but no good will come from losing the scoring punch that Kase provided.