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A Carolina perspective on Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Martin Necas: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
19 days ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by Corey Sznajder, a hockey data collector and writer at McKeen’s Hockey and a current Carolina fan, to discuss the prospect of the Canucks pursuing Martin Necas and/or Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
“For Necas, it seems like a trade is inevitable,” Corey stated. “There have been rumblings that he’s been frustrated in Carolina, and he’s an RFA this year. He probably has the most star potential on the Hurricanes roster. People say it hasn’t come to fruition yet, but he led the team in points last year and was injured this year. He had a lot of flashes of brilliance when he came back in late January; he was excellent. Scoring almost every night, he’s lethal at 3-on-3, which is what he’s most known for. He’s someone that would be hard for the Hurricanes to give up on because they need scoring and high-end skill, but they’re at a crossroads and the situation doesn’t look great.”
Kotkaniemi is another player the Hurricanes might try to move out this offseason, but the market for a player with his production and cap hit might be a tough sell.
“Kotkaniemi is frustrating because I don’t see how they can move off his contract,” said Corey. “He had a really tough season, started off the year well up until November as a stop-gap low-end 2C — not someone who’s going to score every night but can do the legwork for skilled linemates. He was in a rut since December; got moved to the fourth line and stuck there. I don’t know how they’re going to navigate that situation; I thought they’d buy him out because it’s a cheap buyout, he’s on their books for 12 years but under a million cap hit. His contract is a long deal for somebody that hasn’t been that productive, but he’s still pretty young.”
Corey moved on to give his thoughts on Necas being a potential fit with Pettersson.
“With Pettersson, he’s almost a perfect fit. From what I’ve watched, Pettersson isn’t someone who always needs the puck to be elite, and Necas is a puck hog. He loves stripping pucks, carrying it, cycling high, and that fits well with Pettersson because he’s sneaky at getting open. The two of them could be a potentially lethal combination.”
One caveat to Necas’ game is questions surrounding his defence.
“Defensively, in terms of coverage, he gets lost sometimes,” Corey said. “The Hurricanes play a lot of man, and sometimes he gets lost trying to figure out who he’s supposed to cover. He’s very good at stripping pucks, especially in his rookie year; that was the first thing that stood out to me. He’s really good at tracking guys down and works hard at backtracking whoever the puck carrier is. There are some things he can iron out, but at the very least, he can outscore his problems.”
Filip Hronek was then brought up as a potential trade piece the Canucks might use in a deal with Carolina.
“That’s just trading one problem for another because they’d have to pay Hronek,” Corey said, unconvinced. “He’s an RFA also coming off a career season. Unless you lose Pesce and Skjei, he’d be a guy they’d have a bit of control over, but this front office hasn’t given a long-term contract to a defenseman yet. Getting Hronek on an RFA deal feels like something they won’t do; they’d look for someone already under contract.”
You can watch the full replay of the show below:

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