Ondrej Kase's potential NHL return should intrigue Flyers

Ondrej Kase hasn't played in the NHL since 2022-23. But, his play overseas shows he can still be a valuable asset and that potential health concerns may be behind him.
Switzerland v Czech Republic - Final - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia
Switzerland v Czech Republic - Final - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia / RvS.Media/Monika Majer/GettyImages

With four teams remaining in the battle for the Stanley Cup, the rest of the league is looking for ways to become one of those teams next season. It isn't always about signing the top free agent or adding a prolific scorer.

Depth pieces can turn out to be what a team is looking for. The Flyers had some of those last season in Ryan Poehling and Garnet Hathaway. The two came in looking to prove themselves and they did just that.

Another player who could be looking to make an NHL return is Ondrej Kase. He has been limited to 289 career games since being drafted in the seventh round in 2014. Kase has spent the last season playing with his brother, David, in his native Czechia. Signing with Litvinov HC, there wasn't a guarantee of what he could do after appearing in just one game with the Hurricanes in 2022-23.

“It’s still in my head, for sure,” Kaše told The Athletic about a potential NHL return. “I’m not sure after the championship what the situation will be. So we will see with my agent.”

Ondrej Kase's potential return should intrigue Flyers

The reason for Kase's limited NHL time has had to do with issues with concussion-related symptoms. After starting his career with the Ducks, Kase was traded to the Bruins to finish the 2019-20 season. He had one point in six games. Returning the following year, he appeared in only three games for Boston.

Kase signed in Toronto in 2021-22, playing the most games of his career (50) since 2017-18 (66). He had a solid season for the Leafs, chipping in 14 goals and 27 points. That earned him a contract from the Hurricanes in the offseason with the hopes of becoming a key piece to their operation. However, he appeared in a single game to start the season before his symptoms returned.

Kase made his return to hockey this past season and flourished in Czechia. He finished third in the league with 54 points and was tied for fourth in goals with 23. It was a nice bounceback story for a player that has battled throughout his entire career.

But it was his play at the recent Men's World Championship that has teams eyeing his potential return. His three goals and seven points helped Czechia capture the gold medal.

Kase proved that he has remained healthy since his NHL career was derailed. He doesn't shy away from physicality despite his previous issues. He wears a tinted visor to help with light sensitivity and has been receiving treatment from a Michigan-based sports concussion specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher.

David could give him the lowdown on the Flyers as he was drafted by the organization in 2015. Though he mostly played in the AHL, David had a cup of coffee with the Flyers in 2019-20. He scored his first NHL goal, his only point in seven career games. His rights were traded to the Hurricanes for Massimo Rizzo this past year.

Kase is a low-risk option if he decides to return to North America. He shouldn't command much, his last NHL contract having a cap hit of 1.5M. The Flyers have shown an interest in buying low on players who could need a change of scenery or a better opportunity. Kase would be proving he has what it takes to play in the NHL.

Kase isn't likely a needle-moving signing. But the Flyers should keep an eye on if he decides to return.