Odds are when you’re thinking about the Carolina Hurricanes, the first names that come to mind would be Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton, or even Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen. However, Martin Necas is making his case to be in that conversation down the road.
He has made the journey from many hoping he would be a full-time player for the Hurricanes in his age-21 season, to showing signs of a very bright future at the NHL level.
Necas’ Path to the NHL
A native of Nove Mesto Na Morave in the Czech Republic, Necas represented his home country throughout most of his junior years in international competition. He played in the World Junior Championships in both U18 and U20 divisions in 2016-17, tallying three points in each tournament.
Necas was drafted 12th overall in the 2017 Draft by then-GM Ron Francis, and was praised by many scouts for his skating and offensive hockey sense.
Necas (6-0, 167) is an excellent skater with a fine set of tools. He was captain for the Czech Republic at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in August and had two goals and four assists in four games. He’s fast, has great balance and has confidence in his ability to score and create opportunities.Mike Morreale, NHL.com– 2017
In 2017-18, he played once again in the World Juniors U-20 tournament, and emerged as the leading scorer in the competition, recording 11 points in 7 games.
In 2018-19, Necas made the trip over the pond and played in seven games for the Canes before he was sent down to the Charlotte Checkers. He played in 62 games in the AHL, tallying 52 points (16 goals and 36 assists).
That year, the Hurricanes loaned Necas to the Czech Republic yet again for the tournament and he tallied four points in five games.
Necas with the Canes
Starting with the Canes from the get-go in 2019-20, he scored 36 points in 64 games, playing most of the season on a line that comprised of Erik Haula, Ryan Dzingel and himself. After Haula was traded with Lucas Wallmark for Vincent Trocheck, Necas finished the year playing alongside Warren Foegele and Trocheck on the second line.
He even garnered some discussion about being in the Calder Trophy race. While much of the Calder talk was centered around Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes, the fact that Necas was in the conversation for a while, shows his significant improvement.
From both the eye test and in real game situations, Necas impressed many with his skating and his high-end ability at the pro level to make plays both for himself and his teammates.
From the draft on, many considered him to be a center, but the bench boss of the Canes, Rod Brind’Amour, placed him on the wing, which took more off of his plate in multiple facets on both sides of the ice. Much like Aho’s transition from center to wing, then back to center, the goal of the coaching staff for Necas is most likely to shift him back to center down the road.
Related: Who’s Never Picked #1 in the Draft
This past year, Necas took 48 faceoffs, good enough for .8 faceoffs per game, and he only won 27% of them. Putting things plainly, that just isn’t good enough. The bar for faceoffs under Brind’Amour’s system is incredibly high as is, and that percentage won’t cut it. However, with improvements in the next couple of years, Necas could see himself back at the position.
Necas’ Future in Carolina
First off, the position that Necas is currently in is about as ideal as it could get. There’s very little pressure on him to perform, and he can make the improvements without having to shoulder the load like he would in many other markets.
There are improvements he needs to make, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see Necas at the same level as Teravainen offensively (63 points in 68 games), by the time he is the same age (25).
There is a possibility that Necas could end up on the All-Star path, but it seems at this point more likely that he will be a very effective player in the top six for a long time, averaging in the 60-70 point range for multiple seasons in his prime.
“As far as his skill, he’s so fast. When he gets the puck, you expect he’s going to do something good with it and have a good moment.”- Andrei Svechnikov (from ‘Canes’ Martin Necas proving he belongs in the big leagues’, The News and Observer– 12/26/19)
“I think like most rookies you want them to get better every game and improve their all-around game. I think everyone knows he has the offensive capabilities and skills. But you’ve got to play the game the right way and help your team win games and he has done a much better job in working on his all-around game.” – Jordan Staal
Related: Top 10 Dirtiest NHL Players
“He’s still maturing physically and he’s still learning the game. But he’s definitely more comfortable. He’s come a long way for sure.”- Rod Brind’Amour
As has been described above, Necas has shown great improvement over the past couple of years, and it is expected to continue to do so. While he isn’t the player that is mentioned the most when the Carolina Hurricanes are discussed, there is a very bright future for the smooth-skating forward from the Czech Republic.
After covering college and high school basketball for six years as a college student and after graduating for various outlets, I’ve turned to hockey the past couple years.
Most recently, I started the BTS Hockey Podcast, on which I interview players and dive a bit deeper into how they achieve the heights that they have and what their goals are.
My main goal is just to tell stories about people, and learn about them beyond just being an athlete.