“A tremendous fit for…”: Devils closing in on deal to sign $7.52 million highly-touted forward

“A tremendous fit for…”: Devils closing in on deal to sign $7.52 million highly-touted forward

The latest news from Hockey Insider Frank Seravalli has ignited discussion. The New Jersey Devils are reportedly willing to trade their 10th overall pick for Carolina Hurricanes’ Martin Nečas. While several teams will be fighting for the highly regarded forward, the Devils should put their best foot forward.Nečas, a 25-year-old with outstanding skills, is an ideal fit for the youthful group. After General Manager Tom Fitzgerald’s previous actions, acquiring Nečas would solidify the Devils’ position as a top contender in the Eastern Conference for next season.

After acquiring Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames, the organization aims to strengthen their top-six forward core. Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, and Timo Meier have already taken up four of the six vacant positions on the top two lines. New Jersey now needs great forwards to support their youthful and bright core group. Players of Nečas’ caliber are rarely available. Given the Hurricanes’ limited cap room, he may be a trade candidate.

Martin Nečas’ Background

The 25-year-old from Nové Město na Moravě, Czechia, was selected as the 12th overall choice in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He played in the Czech Extraliga with HC Kometa Brno and their youth affiliates before being drafted. At a young age, he demonstrated his speed and superior skating ability, even competing against men. But it was his explosive playmaking talent and ability to be an important puck carrier as a shot and playmaking threat that truly set him apart.

Outside of the NHL, he has won some significant awards. He has won the Czech Extraliga twice, a Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers, and a gold medal at the IIHF World Championship with Czechia this spring. Since joining the NHL in the 2019-20 season, Nečas has been putting up stats. He has 243 points in 362 games so far in his brief career, with 30 in 59 postseason games. Nečas has made significant contributions in all of his previous roles.

This past season, he achieved the second-highest scoring season of his career and was a big playoff performer. He is, above all things, a playmaker. He loves to dish the puck and create opportunities for his teammates, and at such a young age, he’s becoming one of the best in the league at doing so. When he gets set up in the offensive zone, he’s the most lethal, as he ranks in the highest percentiles for in-zone offense, in-zone shots, shots, and shot contributions. He loves setup passes to make hockey plays and garner secondary assists with his high-IQ playmaking. Nečas is the perfect player to put next to a star scorer while also having the ability to shine independently.

Nečas’ Fit on the Devils

Nečas would be an immediate fit with the Devils’ system. He is a high-tempo player who is savvy with the puck on his stick and is an elite decision-maker. He loves to use his speed in open ice to draw defenders toward him and create space for his teammates. When he does that, he can create beautiful and crisp passes for his teammates in high-danger scoring areas for prime scoring opportunities. He’s a selfless player who is also smart enough to know where to be to set himself up for scoring opportunities.

Nečas would excel in a high-speed, north-south style alongside Hischier or Hughes. He can play as a primary or secondary playmaker, complementing either forward brilliantly. Nečas is a player who facilitates attacking success for teammates. He’s inventive, crafty, and always looking for open ice. Playing with Sebastian Aho in Carolina, as shown in the spectacular play sequence here, he has already demonstrated the type of skill he can bring to the Devils’ top six.

He has the vision and creativity to find ways to score, as well as the talent to accomplish the unthinkable on occasion. Last season, the Devils saw what a 30-goal player like Tyler Toffoli could give, despite his limited foot speed and agility. With Nečas, the NHL’s top-six may be one of the most dangerous. He is also highly adaptable; she has mostly played center during his time in Carolina, but she can also play right wing at a high level. He would most likely play right wing by default, as the Devils require a right shot to supplement their four left-handed players.

Should Devils Trade for Nečas?

Given his scoring record and skill level, he would be an excellent fit for the Devils. If the rumors about his availability are true, the Devils should pursue him. Although Pavel Buchnevich and Nikolaj Ehlers are potential forward choices for New Jersey this offseason, Necas remains the top choice. As a pending restricted free agent, the Hurricanes don’t have much bargaining power if he doesn’t want to stay in Carolina, thus his price tag may not be as high as expected.

New Jersey has some trade capital with their No. 10 pick and pieces, such as Alexander Holtz, John Marino, and prospects. The Devils have roughly $15.2 million in cap space (PuckPedia), which leaves them in a great spot before trading any assets to give Nečas the big payday he’s looking for. Nečas fits the current mold of the team, is the right age to fit with the core players, and has all the skills to be successful. If the Devils manage to pull off this trade, he would be the perfect fit for the team.


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