Trade: Bruins get Kase from Ducks for Backes, prospect, and draft pick

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It’s been assumed for weeks now that the Boston Bruins were in the market for a winger before the NHL trade deadline.

On Friday, they made it happen. It just wasn’t the winger most people were expecting.

The Bruins acquired forward Ondrej Kase from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for David Backes, the Bruins’ 2020 first-round draft pick, and defense prospect Axel Andersson.

The Bruins had previously been connected to wingers like New York’s Chris Kreider and New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri.

Kase obviously takes them in a very different direction.

He is still only 24 years old, signed through next season at a salary cap hit of just $2.4 million, and will still only be a restricted free agent once that contract expires. In other words, he is not a rental, and is instead a player that could be a significant part of the Bruins’ lineup for the foreseeable future.

Now the question shifts to what he can provide them. The big question mark with Kase has always been health. Injuries have severely limited him throughout the first four years of his career (including this season) as he has managed to play in just 198 games (out of a potential 306) since the start of the 2016-17 season.

When he is healthy, though, he has shown the ability to be a top-six winger with 20-25 goal ability while also being an excellent possession driver. He has done all of that while playing on one of the most inept offensive teams in the league. He seems like the type of young player that could be on the verge of a breakout if you put him on a good team with good players around him. That opportunity will be there for him in Boston.

The other key to the deal for Boston is shedding the rest of Backes’ contract. He still has one more year remaining on a deal that pays him $6 million per season. The Bruins are retaining 25 percent of that salary. That also creates some additional salary cap space this season for another potential trade before Monday. The Bruins already have the league’s best record with 88 points as of Friday, holding a three-point lead over the surging Tampa Bay Lightning.

Whether or not Backes has any real long-term role in Anaheim remains to be seen. They could do what Carolina did with Patrick Marleau over the summer and buy him out, while netting a first-round pick and a prospect. It is still a risky trade from the Ducks’ perspective because they did not need to trade Kase, while he still has the potential to blossom into the player they originally thought he could be. If that happens in Boston, they are going to have to hope they hit on that first-round pick and that Andersson is an NHL player to make it worth it.

Andersson was selected by the Bruins in the second-round (No. 57 overall) of the 2018 NHL draft. He is currently playing for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL where he has two goals and 20 assists in 41 games played this season.

MORE: PHT’s 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.