Yesterday, the Boston Bruins announced that they tendered RFA qualifying offers to netminding prospect Callum Booth and former 1st round 2015 draft pick Zach Senyshyn. However, surprisingly (to some), two eligible RFAs the B’s opted not to tender offers to were middle-six wingers Ondrej Kaše and Nick Ritchie, despite saying they would be tendered just a few days ago.
And, to be blunt, I cannot express how much joy this news (assuming all negotiations with them are kaput) brings to my heart because Kaše, the far more talented of the two, is alarmingly made out of glass (not his fault of course), yet and still that fact remains.
But if you are GM Don Sweeney, you have to be thinking that the chances Kaše will be fully healthy and back to serviceable offensive form come next season are low. Plus, aside from the fact that Kaše isn’t playing, he is inadvertantly taking up a roster spot from a prospect yet to show what he can do.
Indeed, one like the 6-foot-1 and 207-pound, 24-year-old Senyshyn — a right wing who has been in the B’s farm system since 2016 — is likely looking up at Boston’s right wing line slots from down in Providence with the biggest of eyes.
Nick Ritchie’s and Ondrej Kaše’s performances just didn’t cut it for the Bruins.
Since his arrival via trade from Anaheim, the 25-year-old Czech winger has not been able to stay on the ice long enough to be relevant to the roster. Which likely sunk his RFA stock and his potential trade value in the eyes of the B’s front office. In two seasons with the Black and Gold, Kaše has but one assist in just nine games played with a plus/minus of zero.
As for Ritchie, though the ex-OHLer had a bounce-back year this past season with 15 goals and 26 points in 56 games, the 6-foot-2 and 230-pound power forward (who doesn’t realize he is one) is still just too dang slow for today’s NHL. On top of that, the guy is also wildly inconsistent, which was evident by how often he disappeared on the scoresheet and physicality-wise in the later half of the 2020-21 regular season and almost completely (one goal, three assists, and four points in 11 games) during the playoffs.
And so, considering Kaše’s unreliable health, Ritchie’s consistent inconsistencies and the team’s still very dire need for a competent left-shot defenseman (or two), and a few quality bottom-six forwards, it is no wonder Sweeney pulled the rug out from underneath these guys with this latest transaction move.
I mean, sure, Kaše and Ritchie are nice players (in Anaheim at least). No doubt. But ‘nice’ is not going to cut it this upcoming season. And Sweeney knew it. And I am willing to bet, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a lot of us Bruins fans knew it too. I know I did.