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Former Leafs F Kase eyeing NHL return after year in Czechia

Ondrej Kase Toronto Maple Leafs Ondrej Kase

Veteran foward Ondrej Kase, who played this past season in Czechia, is eyeing a return to the NHL, TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reported in an article on The Athletic.

Kase, 28, played 258 games in the NHL from 2016 to 2023, including stops with the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes

The Kadan, Czech Republic native dealt with injuries throughout his time in the NHL, appearing in more than 60 games in a season on one occasion in 2018-18 with the Ducks, when he scored a career-high 20 goals and totaled 38 points in 66 games.

His most recent game in the NHL came on Oct. 12, 2022, his only appearance with the Hurricanes. He exited the game with a concussion that ultimately sidelined him for the season. 

Recovery from that injury derailed his season, and caused Kase to return to Czechia to play with his brother, David, with Litvinov.

"Litvinov was the number one choice for me. I had other offers, but they didn't make sense to me. I wanted to play with my brother and I also wanted to be closer to home," Kase said in a team release last year, per Google Translate.

A strong showing at this year's IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship with host Czechia and a full, healthy season with Litvinov has garnered interest amongst American scouts, Johnston reports.

Kase said that the interest in a return was mutual. 

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

Kase has played with a tinted visor this past season to help with sensitivity to light, and has received ongoing treatment from a concussion specialist in Michigan, Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher. 

Kase has a “complex set of neurological variables that needed to be treated comprehensively,” Kutcher told The Athletic via Johnston.

In 258 career NHL games, the former seventh-round draft pick has 57 goals and 124 points.