We’ve reached the point in the countdown where the top three should be pretty obvious. Today we talk about the next blooming star for the Hurricanes, Martin Necas.
When the Carolina Hurricanes drafted Necas No. 12 overall in 2017 there were hopes he could be a future number one center for the organization. At that time it was unknown if Sebastian Aho would play wing or center and the team needed depth down the middle. There was much promise to the young Czech center and the pick felt like a win immediately.
Fast forward a few years and we now know Aho is the team’s number one center for the foreseeable future and Necas is following a similar, yet slightly different path to Aho. During his rookie year, nobody knew if Aho was a center or wing and at this point the same question remains for Necas. Both guys played wing entirely during their rookie campaigns.
While Aho has solidifed the top spot down the middle there are still many questions about who plays center on the second line. At one point it was supposed to be Jordan Staal and that never worked out. Then it was Erik Haula, and now the spot belongs to Vincent Trochek. But for how long?
If Necas can follow the same path that Aho and Andrei Svechnikov took then his second season could be his breakout year. Will there be a transition to playing center? We will have to see but it appears based off training camp so far that Rod Brind’Amour has hope.
Perhaps a sign that Martin Necas won’t be exclusively used on the wing this year: here he is taking faceoff practice with Jordan Martinook and a coach who was pretty good at taking draws himself back in the day. pic.twitter.com/jqr8f0GbyY— Brian LeBlanc (@bdleblanc) January 5, 2021
Necas scored 36 points over 64 games during his rookie season where he was used sparingly as Brind’Amour has shown he wants to make rookies learn the game the proper way and not just throw them in to every situation. He did the same with Svechnikov, who scored just 37 points in a full 82 games during his rookie season. Aho scored 49 over his 82-game rookie season and if you pace Necas over 82 games he would have scored around 46 points.
There certainly were plenty of signs throughout the season to show why many people remain so high on Necas’ ceiling as he flashed his skill numerous times including this beauty:
Necas putting on a dance clinic out here pic.twitter.com/sD883viKN0— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) January 11, 2020
One big advantage Necas has at this point in his development over both Svechnikov and Aho is he got to play a full season in the AHL in 2018-19, in which he helped carry the Charlotte Checkers to a Calder Cup Championship. That season of development could prove vital as he progresses through the next few years.
While many questions remain about where Necas plays in the lineup this season and if Rod Brind’ Amour will loosen the leash this season, one thing is for sure. Martin Necas is a major part of the young core of the Hurricanes.
He certainly couldn’t have a better coach to learn from if he ends up down the middle and he can use Svechnikov and Aho’s successes to help him learn. At this point is seems very likely that the three of them will be the faces of the Carolina Hurricanes up front for a very long time to come.