Why the Vancouver Canucks should absolutely try to acquire Martin Necas

Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
21 days ago
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It’s the offseason for the Vancouver Canucks, and this is when the rumours start to swirl about trades and player movement that pique the interest of fans about their team’s future. And Canucks fans got a little dose of that on Friday morning from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“Necas was in that deal [for Pettersson], and I just wonder if there’s something there, still,” Friedman said on his 32 Thoughts Podcast. 
This isn’t the first Canucks fans have heard rumours about Necas making his way to Vancouver. 
David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period reported in late February that Necas was believed to be in a package heading back to Vancouver in a potential Elias Pettersson trade. This hypothetical trade was nixed shortly after as Pettersson signed his 8-year extension.
This is already becoming a big offseason for this Carolina Hurricanes team. Yesterday, their 10-year-long GM Don Waddell resigned from his position in hopes of finding a change of scenery. In Waddell’s absence, assistant GM Eric Tulsky gets the interim tag. 
Tulsky has a busy few months ahead of him, as he has eight unrestricted free agents and six restricted free agents to get signed. Lucky for him, the Hurricanes have the sixth-most available cap space with $27.35M to work with. However, most of their free agents are due for some raises; there are bound to be cap casualties. And it all seems more and more likely that Martin Necas will be one of them. 
With the multiple changes set to come and an odd exchange between Necas’ father and the Hurricanes, it seems his exit out of Carolina is already written on the wall. 
But with the Canucks having free agents of their own to re-sign, with less cap space than the Hurricanes, does acquiring Martin Necas make sense?

Is Necas a fit in Vancouver?

Necas was drafted 12th overall by Carolina in the 2017 NHL draft. He played eight NHL games from 2017-2019 but would become a mainstay in the Hurricanes lineup in the 2019-2020 season. The Czech forward was drafted as a centreman but has since moved to the right side in his time with the Hurricanes. 
Former Hurricanes GM Don Waddell described Necas as “an exceptionally skilled player that has a lot more to give.” Necas is a fast and flashy star on the precipice of breaking out as an elite scorer in the NHL. With that said, I couldn’t agree more with Wadell saying that he has more to give, especially given Necas’ place in the Hurricanes lineup for most of this season.
He spent time on all four lines and really struggled to have consistent linemates, failing to play over 100 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time on any consistent line. While it’s hard to perform well and build chemistry when your linemates are constantly changing, I think it was a sign of trust in head coach Rod Brind’Amour that he can play with anybody and drive his own line. And considering he scored 24 goals and 53 points in 77 games played, I feel that’s accurate.
Not only does Necas perform in the regular season, he’s also a proven playoff player. Despite spending most of his time on the third line and off the first powerplay, he had four goals and nine points in 11 postseason games for Carolina this season. He would have looked great on Pettersson’s right-wing this playoff run. 
Vancouver undoubtedly has holes to fill in their forward group, with Elias Lindholm, Dakota Joshua, Teddy Blueger, and Sam Lafferty all being unrestricted free agents. Even with all of these players, the Canucks were still shy a top-six forward. 
When shopping for that top-six forward, I feel it’s safe to say that whoever they acquire is going to play alongside Elias Pettersson. And that player has to be skilled offensively because rolling out the sought-after winger pairing of Ilya Mikheyev and Sam Lafferty wasn’t necessarily an enjoyable experience.
Elias Pettersson has the high-end skill and play driving ability to carry his own line. But this playoffs, we saw him struggle to do that. Adding a winger with that play-driving ability would help alleviate some of the offensive pressure off of Pettersson and hopefully create the next iconic Canucks duo. 
Here is a clip of Necas showing his shiftiness in the offensive zone. He dekes out the defender numerous times, buying time for his teammates to find the open area and, eventually, the team gets rewarded with a goal. 
Not only does he have the shiftiness and high-end skill, but he has one of the traits that Canucks GM Patrik Allvin highlighted in the year-end media availability as something he wanted to acquire, and that’s elite speed. And oh boy, does Necas have that.
With data provided by NHL Edge, Martin Necas ranked in the 97th percentile for top-skating speed this season (23.68 MPH) and the 99th percentile in total speed bursts 20+ MPH (363).
Bored by the numbers? Well, I’ll just let you watch this clip from earlier this year. For context, this was Necas’ first of three goals in the opening period, led off by this swift rush. 
While it’s fun to speculate how great Necas would fit on the Canucks, he is still a restricted free agent and would require a trade to acquire him. So, what might that trade look like if the Canucks were to iron out a trade for Necas?

What would Necas cost?

I’ll be honest: I’m not an NHL GM, but I can pretend to be one. Harman Dayal on Canucks Conversation brought up a couple of trade comparisons for Necas, so I decided to dive into these players’ stats in the year they were traded and compare that to the year Necas just had. 
It’s interesting to note that all three players were 25 at the time of the trade and around the same ballpark in terms of career point-per-game totals. However, Sam Reinhart and Kevin Fiala had better stats in the year they were traded than Necas had this past offseason. So, that may be an inclination that Necas could come at a cheaper cost than what these two players were traded for.
Well, what did these players get traded for?
Sam Reinhart was traded for a 2022 first-round pick (Jiri Kulich) and Devon Levi.
Kevin Fiala was traded for a 2023 first-round pick (Liam Öhgren) and Brock Faber. 
The average going price looks like a first-round pick and a B-level prospect. Obviously, Faber looks to have a much higher ceiling than the B-level prospect tag, but at the time, that’s what he was thought to be. 
Is that something you Canucks fans would be okay with parting with? A 2025 first-round pick and maybe an Aatu Räty? Or the defencemen, Elias Pettersson? Or how about a one-for-one flip for Filip Hronek? That could make some sense, considering they have Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei and Tony DeAngelo all set to become unrestricted free agents. That could help their right-side defence and powerplay, and they could get younger in one fell swoop. 
So Canucks fans, what do you think about Martin Necas? Would you like to see him suit up in Canucks colours for next season? And if so, what would you be comfortable giving up in return?
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