DENVER — Left winger David Kase has been a smallish player his entire life, so he has learned to compensate for his size by playing fast and playing with an edge.
He showed some of that speed and feistiness in his NHL debut Wednesday night in Denver.
Kase, listed at 5-foot-11 (he looks shorter) and 169 pounds, played just 7 minutes, 47 seconds in the Flyers’ 3-1 loss to Colorado, but he brought energy to a fourth line that included center Misha Vorobyev and right winger Chris Stewart.
Kase, 22, had four shots (two on goal) and two hits and didn’t look out of place despite not getting a chance to skate with his new linemates at the morning practice Wednesday because he had just arrived in Denver after being recalled from the AHL’s Phantoms.
“I thought he had an amazing game,” said right winger Jake Voracek, who, like Kase, is a Czech Republic native. “He’s a real smart player; he created a lot, and was really calm during the game. For a little guy, he was finishing his checks and I think he played real well.”
Coach Alain Vigneault liked Kase’s debut, but he wasn’t as effusive with his praise.
“He didn’t get a chance to play a lot, but when he did, I liked his skating. He pursued the puck hard and created a couple turnovers,” Vigneault said. “I thought that line had some good looks. So for the first game for the young man it was obviously a positive one.”
Kase, selected by the Flyers in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, said he felt a little jittery before the game, but Voracek calmed him down.
“He said to have fun and play simple, and I did,” Kase said. “It was amazing for me. I’m here. I’m going to work hard.”
Kase’s first impression of the NHL: The players are better and play smarter hockey than in the AHL. “The AHL, I think, is more about skating and more hitting," he said.
After learning he was going to be promoted from Lehigh Valley, Kase called his parents in the Czech Republic and then called his brother, Ondrej, a right winger who is in his fourth season with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Flyers host the Ducks on Tuesday, so Kase -- provided he doesn’t get sent back to Lehigh Valley -- may face his brother.
“It could be a big chance to play against him,” Kase said. “We’ll see.”
Either way, his parents are traveling to the Philadelphia area Monday to spend some time with their sons over the holidays.