Ondrej Kase was traded to the Boston Bruins by the Anaheim Ducks for David Backes, Axel Andersson and a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft on Friday.
"He's a 24-year-old player that has a lot of offensive upside and talent overall," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said of Kase. "We think with the speed of the game, the speed that he plays at, his shooting ability, that he can continue to grow and integrate into our group and add another dimension to our hockey club."
Kase is in the second year of a three-year contract and can become a restricted free agent after next season. The forward has 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 49 games this season but has not played since Feb. 7 because of an illness. He is on injured reserve and will not join the Bruins on their road trip but instead will meet them next week in Boston.
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The Bruins (39-11-12), who lead the Tampa Bay Lightning by five points for first place in the Atlantic Division, defeated the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Friday and play at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
"We'll get him in and he'll be on the ice with us fully on Monday and then we'll make an evaluation as to how comfortable he is in getting back to playing," Sweeney said. "We're just going to make sure he feels good and ready to go. He's excited, happy to join our team, knows players on our team, and speaking with him today he'll be ready to go and anxious, but we'll make sure he's 100 percent. That's the benefit of having our current team where they're at right now. Hopefully it stays that way from a health perspective."
Selected by Anaheim in the seventh round (No. 205) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Kase has 96 points (43 goals, 53 assists) in 198 regular-season games and two goals in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He scored an NHL career-high 20 goals in 66 games during the 2017-18 season.
"We grew up in the national teams together [in the Czech Republic]," Bruins forward David Pastrnak said. "Great kid. I'm excited for him to join us. I think he's a great player. Definitely going to be fun."
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said, "We don't see him often because he's out west, but he's skilled, likes to shoot the puck, can play up or down the lineup. Once he's in our lineup we'll see where he best fits. The easiest thing to say is we'll try him with [center David] Krejci. We probably will and go from there. He's young. [Pastrnak] probably knows him better than anybody. Hard-working kid. He'll fit right in in that regard and see where he slots in down the road with how he plays."
Backes is in the fourth year of a five-year, $30 million contract. He last played Jan. 9 and has three points (one goal, two assists) in 16 games. The 35-year-old forward was waived by the Bruins on Jan. 17 and did not play for their American Hockey League affiliate in Providence because the Bruins felt it was not in his or their best interest.
"He's eager. I'm sure, with a proud, veteran player like that who's been a leader all his life, he wants to show ... I just get that sense that he wants to show everybody that he can still play, and he wants to go out the right way," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. "That's something, when you've got a guy like this, you want to go out the right way, and I'm sure he's quite anxious to do that."
Selected by St. Louis in the second round (No. 62) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Backes has 554 points (245 goals, 309 assists) in 944 regular-season games and 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) in 82 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"I was praying, actually praying to get an opportunity that I could reassert myself and show that I still belong in the NHL," Backes said. "Not being a part of the game for six weeks and kind of feeling like it was taken from me a little bit has lit a fire in my body to get back in the game, give everything I have, get into that team setting again and hopefully make people around me better and together keep improving and help the team in any way we can."
Andersson was selected by Boston in the second round (No. 57) of the 2018 NHL Draft. The 20-year-old has 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 41 games with Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen and independent correspondents Dan Arritt and Aaron Vickers contributed to this report