Has the recent bidding war for Martin Necas priced him out of Vancouver?

Photo credit:© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
17 days ago
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Ever since the Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, the focus has shifted immediately to finding the perfect top-six forward for Elias Pettersson. Vancouver certainly could have used this top-six forward for this year’s playoff run, but I understand the team’s hesitation to hold off after the level of play they received from Elias Lindholm.
And how could you blame Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin? They took their big swing on Lindholm, who played 14 games before the trade deadline and mustered only six points. At the time, it was categorized as a miss, and trading more high-end valued prospects and picks in the team’s first successful season with this core for a rental player may only hinder the team’s future success.
So Rutherford and Allvin waited, and now it’s their time to pounce and acquire that forward for Pettersson. But who’s the right guy?
It’s been speculated ever since January that the Canucks were interested in Martin Necas. And all there was was speculation about what the asking price may be. But now that his availability around the league is common knowledge, multiple teams have been reportedly interested in the Carolina Hurricanes restricted free agent.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Columbus Blue Jackets were the top three teams he said he’s keeping his eye on. The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta added the Nashville Predators, Seattle Kraken, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers as other teams that have checked in on Necas.
With this now seeming like a bidding war for the 25-year-old Czech forward, his asking price will only continue to rise. So much so that the price may be too high for the Canucks to attain.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman joined the Donnie and Dhali show today to discuss the Necas asking price and Vancouver’s involvement.
“I think it’s a harder deal to do now that Pettersson is not going to be dealt. They’re probably talking about some of your top prospects, and the ask is big. I don’t think that [Filip] Hronek is going to do this; I think they’re going to want some of your top prospects, too, or one of your top prospects. I’ve just been told it’s a harder deal for Vancouver to do now. The talks are not the same as they were before the deadline.”
I think it’s safe to say that all of Canucks Army gulps at the thought of acquiring Necas now if they need to include one of Jonathan Lekkerimäki or Tom Willander.
When the Necas rumours first started swirling, the belief was that maybe a Hronek for Necas one-for-one would work out. And that’s not too outlandish to believe. Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei, Tony DeAngelo, and Jalen Chatfield are all unrestricted free agents this offseason, and the only one of this foursome the Hurricanes reportedly had discussion to bring back was Skjei. This would leave a massive hole on the right side of Carolina’s defence.
Pesce, DeAngelo and Chatfield are all right-shot defencemen, leaving Brent Burns and Scott Morrow as the only right-handed defencemen signed on the roster. At the ripe age of 39 with one year remaining on Burns’ contract, adding a 48-point right shot defenceman could help subsidize the loss of Burns as the powerplay quarterback on one of the team’s top powerplay units.
And, I’m sorry, but since when did right-shot defencemen now become less impactful than a winger, who played mainly on the third line? Granted, I believe Necas’ skill set deserves a spot in any team’s top-six, but still. That’s where they were playing him last year, so now the thought of having to add one of the Canucks top prospects, along with a top-pairing RHD, is nonsensical.
Sure, maybe adding more of a B-level prospect to help this trade cross the finish line makes sense if Canucks upper management fall in love with the player. But to trade one of Vancouver’s two first-round draft picks they’ve had in the last five seasons, along with Hronek — who was traded for a first-round pick himself — seems too rich for my blood.
Lekkerimäki is a pure goal scorer, with some scouts in his draft year comparing him to Kyle Connor. In his draft 19-year-old season, Lekkerimäki finished with 19 goals, which ties Canucks legend Daniel Sedin and ahead of another Canucks legend Thomas Gardin. Company to which Canucks fans would be more than ecstatic if Lekkerimäki hit their level of success.
Not to mention, he’s coming off MVP honours at this year’s World Juniors championships despite a losing effort in the gold medal game. Connor Bedard, Mason McTavish, Trevor Zegras, and Alexis Lafreniére are the last four players to earn this honour. Look at how well these players have panned out in their young careers; there is no way their teams would give up on them.
Willander is a 6’1, 179-pound right-shot defender who projects to crack the Canucks lineup in the coming seasons. He had a successful freshman year at Boston University with four goals and 25 assists in 38 games. And while these point totals are encouraging for a 19-year-old defenceman, they could get even better next season as Lane Hutson has moved on to the NHL. Willander will likely be the beneficiary of the extra offensive zone time with Hutson’s departure, only allowing his offensive game to blossom further.  
So, do I think the speedy Martin Necas would be a perfect fit for Elias Pettersson’s right-wing? Absolutely. But at the cost of one of Jonathan Lekkerimäki or Tom Willander? Absolutely not.
Vancouver’s prospect pool is already dried up as it is, and with no first or second-round pick this year to replenish that pool, moving on from the team’s top two prospects doesn’t make sense for a team that’s going to be tight to the cap in the coming years. The Canucks are going to need their cost-efficient young prospects to make an impact sooner rather than later.
Rutherford and Allvin must get creative if they plan on acquiring Necas. But according to Friedman’s comments, it looks like the bidding war has gotten too rich for the Canucks to remain in the hunt.
What do you think Canucks fans? Do you want to see the Canucks acquire Necas if it means parting ways with Jonathan Lekkerimäki or Tom Willander?
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