A note about the mock draft: You may have noticed that when the 12th pick in the SB Nation mock draft came around, it wasn’t the Hurricanes but the St. Louis Blues that drafted Lias Andersson. The story behind that trade down is that the Kings took Nick Suzuki one pick before we planned to grab him. With Suzuki off the board, we had a decision to make.
The players that appealed to our staff - Martin Necas, Michael Rasmussen, Elias Pettersson and Kailer Yamamoto, to name four - would have been a stretch to pick at No. 12. One of those would have been our pick, but we decided to pursue a trade since we thought the chances were decent that we could take one of them later and net a premium for moving down. If nothing materialized, we would pick one of the players we considered, despite doing so earlier than the conventional wisdom would have them drafted.
We eventually agreed on a trade with St. Louis that swapped our first-round picks and also netted the Canes the Blues’ second rounder, #51 overall. When we got to pick 20 and Necas was still on the board, he was the obvious selection.
Below is Justin’s profile of Necas, the Canes’ 2017 Mock Draft selection. -Brian
- DOB: January 15, 1999 - Nova Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic
- Team: HC Kometa Brno
- Center | Shoots: R | 6’1”, 168 lbs
- 2016-17 Stats: 41 GP - 7G, 8A, 15 Points, 6 PIM
Martin Necas possess top-end speed for a center and may be one of the best skaters in the entire 2017 draft class: think former Hurricane Bates Battaglia but even faster. Don’t let Necas’ meager stat line fool you. He’s able to create offensive chances with his gifted skating ability, generating odd-man rushes with his quick breakout speed. Necas is great at driving to the net and has excellent positioning when faced with a defenseman on his back. Necas has a quick release on his shot that can quickly find its way into the back of the net.
Necas has been great in international tournaments, playing against the best of his age. He had a great U-17 tournament in which he scored a whopping 32 points in 16 games. Necas has been playing in the Czech men’s league where he may have an advantage in development compared to those in his draft class.
Necas has a strong overall game but needs to have a net-front presence in order to complete his game. He tends to stick to the outside or perimeter of the offensive zone and doesn’t get in the dirty areas. Necas will need to bulk up as 168 lbs for a center won’t cut it in the NHL. Another season overseas may benefit the team that drafts him as Necas still figures out his physical tools.
Barring a massive increase in size, Necas may be a better fit as a wing until he bulks up enough to handle life as an NHL center. Centers who play most of time along the boards tend to have a rough go, so Necas will have to modify his game to become more comfortable in the middle of the ice.
Necas is an enticing prospect but may be gone by the time the Hurricanes step up to the podium, even at 12 (never mind 20). If Necas were to drop, the Hurricanes would be wise to grab him. Necas would add center depth to the organization and would soon slot in as a top-six forward. His speed and hockey IQ will be a welcome addition to any team that drafts him.