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2017 NHL Draft prospect profile: Martin Necas has risen up draft boards this season

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The Czech centre has gone from fringe first-round pick to top-10

Shanna Martin / Eyes on the Prize

Martin Necas has kept rising through the NHL Draft Rankings. At the end of last season, he was barely on the first round radar. Now, he is solidly in the top 15, if not the top 10.

He played most of the season in the Czech Extraliga as a 17-year-old, which is part of the reason why scouts have him rising up draft boards. He wasn’t getting token time on a struggling team, either - his team won the championship.

Place of Birth: Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic
Shoots: Right
Position: Centre
Height: 6’1" Weight: 168 lbs

EliteProspects.com

Necas didn’t put up mind-blowing numbers, but unlike the other prospects around him in the draft rankings, he did it in a senior professional league.

He had seven goals and eight assists in 41 games with Brno, adding four goals in 10 playoff games en route to the championship.

He also played at the World Juniors with the Czech Republic, scoring one goal and adding two assists in five games. He captained the Czech team at the Ivan Hlinka U-18 tournament this year, and had six points in four games.

When you put up solid numbers against senior competition, play well at U-18 and U-20 tournaments, can play centre, and you are 6’1”, you are going to get a lot of attention heading into the draft, and that’s what Necas has done.

I have seen several comparisons to Claude Giroux lauding his aggressive forecheck and offensive hockey sense. If you watch the above video, you see several clips of his forechecking and of the way he can control the play in the offensive zone on the power play.

To make an impact at the NHL level, scouts feel he needs to bulk up. He has yet to fill in his lanky frame, and his lower body strength is something that needs to improve, and luckily it is something that can be changed.

Scouting

Future Considerations:

“Necas has a strong game displaying plenty of desirable skills. Especially his skating and hockey sense should put him in the conversation for a top pick in this weaker draft. If he can get stronger and continue to improve his shot velocity he could become a lethal weapon on an NHL top-six.”

Rankings (note: these are not all final rankings):

HockeyProspect: 6
ISS: 13
Future Considerations: 9
McKeen’s: 12
NHL Central Scouting (European Skaters): 5
Corey Pronman: 16

Thoughts

Necas is the type of player the Montreal Canadiens and their fans would dream of adding to the prospect pool. An offensive, skilled forward who can play centre, and will look like he is playing hard in every zone of the ice.

I saw Necas play a couple of times in World Junior pre-tournament games, and while I saw his tenacious forecheck, I didn’t really notice much of the offensive skill. I am more than happy to defer to scouts who have seen him a lot more than I have but I have to admit, I was surprised to see him continually rise up the prospect boards.

Obviously what I saw was a very small sample size.

He can definitely skate with the puck on his stick, and you can’t teach the skill that he possesses. A lot of the weaknesses in his game are things that can be changed, and the fact that he has played against men already bodes well for him, even if it isn’t in the strongest league.

When the Canadiens drafted Artturi Lehkonen, his experience in the Finnish Liiga was one of his biggest strengths. Necas is expected to be taken in the first round, while Lehkonen was taken in the second round, but it’s always a strength when you can be compared to professionals.

Necas may not be ready to step into an NHL lineup immediately, but the fact that scouts can already see him at a professional level erases some of the doubts about his future.