The Carolina Hurricanes have a solid young core of players primed to make some noise down the road. Here’s why Martin Necas is the key to future success.
It’s easy to say that Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov are the two big cornerstones pieces for the franchise upfront and that Teuvo Teravainen and Jaccob Slavin are easily two of the most underrated players in the entire league.
When these four players click the Carolina Hurricanes are a difficult team to beat yet, even with that in mind, Martin Necas could possibly be the biggest key to success in the future.
On the surface that may sound a bit like a bold statement with Aho and Svechnikov already superstars in the league as 20 and 22-year-olds but, as you look deeper, it is that far fetched to believe.
In his first season in the NHL, Necas has shown flashes of why he was drafted early in the first round back in 2017. With elite speed for days, he appears to be among the handful of players capable of keeping up with Connor McDavid. While speed isn’t everything, you have to consider he has produced at every level he’s played at thus far.
Adjusting to the smaller ice surface and North American style of game in the AHL last year, he managed to put up 52 points in 64 games, good for a .81 point per game pace. Making the jump to the big club this season, he’s had a solid rookie season thus far.
With a stat line of 16 G 20 A (36 PTS) in 64 games his numbers are not only good enough to finish top five on the entire Carolina roster but are strikingly similar to Aho’s in his rookie year.
When you compare the two players, Aho produced at a .59 PPG pace in his rookie season, just a tad higher than Necas’ .56 PPG pace. Both were drafted as centers out of Europe but started their NHL careers on the wing. When you look at their point totals, both had an almost even split of goals and assists, with Aho showing just a little bit more raw goal-scoring abilities than Necas.
In each of his four seasons in the league, Sebastian has taken another step forward in his development into the All-Star we all know and love. Although Aho was a few years younger when he made the Hurricanes roster full time, there’s no reason Martin can’t follow a similar progression.
While there seem to be a few similarities between the two on paper, perhaps Teuvo is an even better comparison. Like Necas, he didn’t make the Chicago Blackhawks roster full time until he was 21 years of age back in 15-16. Also similarly, Turbo had played in the AHL briefly before establishing himself as a full-time NHLer.
It wasn’t until his 22-year-old season, and trade to the Hurricanes, that Teravainen really has begun to make his mark as an elite all-around player. With increased production yearly, and solid reliable two way play, Turbo’s career path thus far appears to be a good estimate of what we’ll see from Necas soon enough.
A leader for the Czechs at the World Junior Championships and a Calder Cup Champion with the Charlotte Checkers this past season, he already has played in and won big games at a young age. When you add that to the fact that he is a right shot, you could have the makings of an elite NHL centerman in a year or two down the line.
So why is he the biggest key to future success?
First off, with Aho and Svech already establishing themselves as elite talents they’re getting and going to continue to get the toughest defensive matchups each and every night. When they are paired with Teuvo on the top line, opposing coaches will pay even more attention to shutting them down, making way for Necas to take over games in the future.
With more favorable matchups, should he become that consistent 75-80 point guy he’s projected to be, he could become the Hurricanes’ equivalent of Malkin or Backstrom, a number one center on most teams but because of guys like Crosby and Kuznetsov is on the second line?
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When you add a solid goal-scoring threat line Dominik Bokk to his wing down in the future, there’s no reason he won’t be able to put the team on his back when Aho and Co. aren’t producing.
To have someone like him playing behind Sebastian for years to come with go a long way in setting the Hurricanes up for long term success in the future. The franchise is clearly in good hands with Necas, Aho, and Svechnikov all several years away from hitting their primes.
The fact that he’s a right shot also adds to his value. Although it remains to be seen when he starts his transition to center ice in the NHL, teams are always on the lookout for someone with his high hockey IQ and handiness.
Before the deadline deal for Vincent Trocheck and call up of Morgan Geekie, the Canes were lacking someone who they could rely on to take important draws on the right side. Although this isn’t something he is known for right now, there’s no reason it won’t become a tool in his arsenal under the continued guidance of Rod Brind’amour.
On the man advantage, he has already made his mark a handful of times. With five power-play markers and three assists, he’s shown the ability to slow down the game and take advantage of the open ice he’s given. With three game-winners before the pause in play, he’s already proving his worth as a guy who can be counted on to get it done when it counts the most.
Of course, all of this is going to take some time. When he’s had his moments of sure brilliance he hasn’t been without his mistakes and flaws but that’s the good thing about Brind’amour, he continues to put him on the ice in key situations no matter what.
There’s been a handful of times where Necas had a costly mishandle or two, but with a short memory, he was able to learn from it and make the smart play the next time the situation presented itself.
It won’t happen overnight, but should he follow a similar path to Turbo or Seabass he will become a deadly player for countless Carolina teams in no time. Martin Necas seems like a coachable and determined young player so I wouldn’t bet against him. His combination of skill and speed makes him poised to become one of the faces of the franchise for years to come.
Question for CC Readers: Do you think Martin Necas will help lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup?