Where in the World Will Martin Necas Start Next Season?

In the world of North American professional hockey, there have been, and likely will always be, players that are used as “trade bait”. Trade bait are players, year after year, deemed to be a “bad fit” for a specific system and are dangled for trades. Anyone’s question is whether it happens at the deadline or in the offseason. This offseason has a few trade bait standouts: Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson, Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras, and Carolina’s Martin Necas. 

Related Post: The Price of Trevor Zegras: Who’s Willing to Pay Up?

Necas has been a central part of the Carolina Hurricanes core since he was drafted in 2017. As a forward, he’s been a core in scoring, with seventy-seven points this past season. He’s a fan favorite. He’s now a world champion, helping Czechia win gold at the World Championships this spring. 

So why is he trade bait? The ceiling for his potential is high. However, his hockey style is different from many other Hurricanes players, which makes transitions clunky at times. He’s been accused of being selfish, not buying into coach Rod Brind’Amour’s system, and for holding onto the puck longer than necessary. The last criticism led to several poor plays for the Hurricanes in the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs, with an early elimination in the second round against the New York Rangers. This season was likely the last one with the current core. 

Furthermore, Necas himself allegedly wants out of Carolina. While Necas himself hasn’t commented publicly on any trade, contract, or rumors relating to his future, his father told Cezchian press that Necas would like to leave the Hurricanes. The reasoning, he claimed, was for a combination of higher pay, the opportunity to play on the first line and the first power play, as well as more playing time. These comments have been taken with a grain of salt for American fans and coach Rod Brind’Amour, who told Raleigh sports media that “Every parent thinks their kid should be on the power play, by the way…. They don’t always have a microphone to announce it.” 

What makes a trade for Necas hard for Carolina is the balance of expectations. The front office knows they have a future superstar on their hands, and won’t shop him for mid-round draft picks or prospects alone.

Here are possible options rumored for Necas:

He stays in Carolina

The most awkward outcome after all of the speculation, but it’s not unfounded. Necas has been in this situation multiple times. The only difference this year is the paycheck.  If both sides – Necas and his team, as well as the Hurricanes front office – are willing to get a deal done, it could happen. With rumors surrounding Carolina interim GM Eric Tulsky taking the full-time, permanent GM position and the status of current Hurricane Jake Guentzel shopping around swirling, Necas may be able to stay in Raleigh. Whether or not the alleged concerns of Necas are answered by the Hurricanes organization – or a possible compromise can happen without arbitration – is a larger question mark.

He goes to Vancouver

Necas and Vancouver have been a rumored duo for quite some time. At the 2024 trade deadline, Necas was reportedly floated as an offer for Elias Pettersson. Neither team could get a deal done, keeping both trade-bait players on their current rosters. Carolina’s cap situation is complicated, to say the least. If a deal was done on both sides, it would have to require more than just Pettersson for Carolina. The Necas to Vancouver rumors make sense, but what Carolina would receive for him is a larger question mark. If both front offices are urgent to address both teams’ needs, it’s not unlikely fans can see Necas as a Canuck next season. The Canucks clearly want Necas on their roster, and see star potential in him. It just varies on other assets the front office would be willing to trade for a deal.

He goes to Columbus

Another stop on the rumor mill is that Necas will end up in Columbus with former Hurricanes GM and president Don Waddell. The Blue Jackets are starting a rebuild, starting with the front office. They also have assets that align with some of Carolina’s needs – including goaltending. Current Carolina goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Pytor Kochetkov are other question marks for next season. Andersen may be leaving Carolina after the NYR playoff series, despite having a year left on his contract. Kochetkov is still very young, and was only used last season as a starter during Andersen’s leave due to blood-clotting. Both front offices – even more now with Waddell in charge in Columbus – have friendly relations with the other. Carolina also loves Columbus goaltenders, re-signing third stringer Spencer Martin to a one-year-deal earlier this year.

All of these reasons makes sense for a possible Elvis Merzļikins for Necas trade. Merzlikins has vocally been wanting out of Columbus, and the Hurricanes are an option. The organization has proven themselves to bring players that have been doubted or dealing with personal struggles back into the rhythm of the NHL, such as Evgeny Kuznetsov. Merzlikins has potential to thrive. It’s a higher reward than risk situation for both sides.

Carolina needs goaltending. Columbus needs offense. Columbus also has significantly more to give than other options. It’s not a reach that Necas will go to Columbus – or another rebuilding team – because of more cap space and assets for Carolina.

He goes to an unexpected team

There’s always the option to expect the unexpected, and that just may be what Carolina fans can anticipate with the Necas trade scenarios. It all depends what other organizations are willing to shop around for Necas. Similarly to the Canucks, the Calgary Flames have been linked to Necas discussions, despite concerns that the Flames organization doesn’t have to enough to offer. Another hypothetical option would be the Nashville Predators and their goaltending prospects. But would the Carolina front office only take prospects when their AHL affiliate of the Chicago Wolves already have so many players under Carolina contracts? It’s complicated, and fans likely can’t answer that question.

From the outside, it seems both sides are ready to move on. The finer details of the trade will be the most complicated part of the ordeal. Wherever Necas ends up, any team will be lucky to have him. The lingering question of where – and how all sides handle the trade – is eagerly awaiting an answer sooner rather than later.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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