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Necas Has A Playmaking Knack

The Czech-born forward has had success in Europe

by By Matt Shwayder / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago on June 23-24. Martin Necas is the No.5-ranked international skater in the NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the fourth overall selection at the draft. 

When sizing up Martin Necas, some may overlook the 6-foot, 167-pound centerman from Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, but one thing that cannot go unseen is his productivity when he steps on the ice.

Simply put, when the 18-year-old skates into the attacking zone, he finds a way to light the lamp, whether with his own shot or one he created for a teammate.

Necas has played the last several years in the Kometa Brno system in the Czech Republic where his development has had a solid upward trend.

While in the under-16 league in 2014-15, Necas showed what he was truly made of by tallying 91 points (32 goals and 59 assists) in 34 contests, making him Czech's U16 leader in points and assists.

As Necas grew older, his production did not slow. During the 2015-16 season, he joined Brno's U-18 club for 18 games and compiled 30 points (nine goals and 21 assists). Come playoff time, he added 15 more points in 10 contests to help the squad to a league title.

When he finally joined Brno's professional team in Czech Extraliga this past year, the right-handed forward fit in with the men just fine, completing his rookie campaign with 15 points in 41 games on Brno's way to its first-ever championship in the league.

Video: Altitude profiles Martin Necas

The 2016-17 season was a great way to show the NHL what Necas was made of. He started the campaign as the captain of the Czech Republic in the Ivan Hilinka Memorial Tournament and tallied six points in five outings as he led the team to its first gold medal at the tournament that it co-hosts.

Coming off the championship performance, Necas joined the Czech Republic U-20 team to participate in the World Junior Championship where it eventually lost in the quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Canada. The center finished with three points (goal and two assists) and a plus-2 rating in the five contests at the tournament.

Necas had one last stop on his world tour, playing at the IIHF U18 World Championship in Slovakia, where he racked up three assists in five games. The Czechs fell in the quarterfinals again, this time to Finland, which wound up earning silver in the tournament.

In all three international competitions, his playmaking talents were on full display.

"He has skill, great passing ability. Probably more of a passer than a goal scorer," said Colorado Avalanche director of amateur scouting Alan Hepple of Necas. "Great vision, can make plays through traffic, and that lends itself to his offensive upside of the game."

Former Avs winger in Milan Hejduk comes to mind when looking for a comparison for Necas. Not only is Hejduk a native of the Czech Republic, but his frame is very similar to Necas as well, showing that players do not need to be huge to be a dominant force.

Hejduk's impeccable vision helped him tally 375 goals and 430 assists and finish with an overall plus-101 rating in his 14-year Avalanche career.

Is Necas the next Hejduk? It's too early to tell, but his prolific passing ability accompanied by his strong defensive effort says that the potential is there.

When all is said and done, Necas might contribute in the NHL as a solid passer and a good two-way player. His ability to create scoring chances from all over the ice makes him worthy of his top-five European prospect rating by NHL Central Scouting, and the team that drafts him could have a great addition to its roster for years to come. 

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