Martin Necas is one of the Carolina Hurricanes’ top prospects and he could be arriving on the NHL scene sooner rather than later.
At just 19 years old, Necas scored 16 goals and 52 points in 64 games in his first AHL season. He continued his production into the postseason and was a key part of Charlotte’s Calder Cup run. It’s an impressive feat and with Necas likely to crack the Hurricanes roster soon, we can try to project how productive he may be when he gets there.
Here’s a sample of five other NHL forwards who produced similar points per 82 game averages in their 19-year-old AHL season:
Fischer: 67.6 (2016-17) = 28.2 NHL P/82
Palmieri: 67.5 (2010-11) = 48.4 NHL P/82
Necas: 66.6 (2018-19)
Okposo: 65.6 (2007-08) = 53.4 NHL P/82
Fiala: 62.1 (2015-16) = 38.2 NHL P/82
Forsberg: 59.3 (2013-14) = 63.3 NHL P/82
Obviously some of these totals don't present an accurate projection- Kevin Fiala (23) and Christian Fischer (22) haven’t come close to reaching their peak yet. The better comparables are Kyle Palmieri (28) and Kyle Okposo (31), so their points per game averages have rounded out at this point, while Filip Forsberg (24) has already played five full NHL seasons.
So based on this where does Necas project? Maybe not as a superstar but surely as a very good top-six forward. Palmieri has averaged almost 50 points per 82 games over his career, Okposo has averaged about 53 P/82, while Filip Forsberg is up to 63 P/82.
As to when Necas gets a shot in the NHL, there’s a great chance he makes the Hurricanes out of camp. He did get a seven-game trial run last year where he had a goal and an assist and there’s not a whole lot more room for him to develop in the AHL. Especially if Justin Williams doesn’t return, Carolina would be in serious need of a right-shot top-nine forward and it would make sense to see Necas on the right wing in a middle-six role.
There’s always the possibility Necas doesn’t start the year with the Hurricanes. But after a successful year with the Checkers and an opportunity waiting for him in the top-nine, it’s likely we see Necas make a permanent jump to the NHL this season.
If anyone’s interested, I also write for the New York Islanders at HockeyBuzz. As part of a series, I did a comparison as to how the Islanders and Hurricanes will matchup against each other on paper next season. The article can be found here.