Maple Leafs forward Ondrej Kase voted as nominee for Bill Masterton Trophy
Photo credit:Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
The Toronto Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has voted winger Ondrej Kase its nominee for the 2022 Bill Masterton Trophy, recognizing perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
The 26-year-old winger has been challenged to fulfill his NHL dream several times in his career as a low draft pick and because of health, most recently this season when he missed the past five weeks with a concussion from a game March 19 in Nashville. Head injuries also limited his playing time with the Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins, holding him to as few as three games with the Bruins in 2020-21.
But he worked diligently in the summer of 2021 to make a competitive Toronto lineup and amass 14 goals and 13 assists in 50 games as one of the team’s most effective two-way forwards. He earned praise for his defensive work, shot blocking and converting scoring chances. Toronto’s record with Kase in the lineup is 31-19.
“When he’s played and when he’s practised he gives you nothing but everything he has,” Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said of Kase. “You can’t help but appreciate that.”
The Maple Leafs signed Kase to a one-year contract worth $1.25 million this past summer. His versatility has been an asset to Keefe, who has utilized the forward in both top-six and bottom-six roles. Although he’s been out of the lineup, Kase continues to skate with the hope that he can return at some point during the team’s upcoming playoffs run.
”I think he’s doing a good job trying to get back and working hard everyday,” friend and teammate David Kampf said of Kase.
His determination to return by playoff time is part of a consistent seven-year push to stay in the NHL. He came from far back in the 2014 draft, chosen 205th overall by the Ducks, and averaged .48 points per regular season game with Anaheim, Boston and Toronto.
Previous Masterton nominees from the Leafs include Jack Campbell and Morgan Rielly. Each of the NHL’s chapters selects a Masterton nominee with the winner announced as part of the league’s annual awards ceremony.
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