It's been a busy day for the Carolina Hurricanes.
After making massive trades to acquire both Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty, the Hurricanes opted to pad their defensive depth as the first day of free agency began to wind down, agreeing to terms with Ondrej Kase on a one-year contract worth $1.5 million.
Ability has never been the issue with Kase. Not at all, in fact. When Kase was on the ice for the Maple Leafs last season, he looked fantastic.
The 26-year-old scored roughly 0.5 points per game for Toronto while serving as a versatile winger with enough skill and grit to play up and down the line-up, and made just a little over $1 million to do it.
But, as has always been the case with Kase, injuries struck again.
Kase suffered yet another concussion midway through the season and missed the entire final stretch of the schedule. He returned for the playoffs and looked fine in Toronto's seven-game first-round exit versus Tampa, but he was already playing with fire before he went down in the first place. Another fall or bump on the head could not only derail his hockey career, but seriously impact his ability to lead a normal life, as well.
If he can stay healthy, the Hurricanes just added a valuable middle-six forward for pennies on the dollar. But that's a big "if" at play there, though the risk is softened by the one year of term.
Right now, the focus is on ensuring Kase can preserve his quality of life after his playing days are over. If suiting up this season won't impact that, then it's a great story for him.