(Photo Credit: osh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis

The Boston Bruins are about to enter what could be one of the most pivotal off seasons in franchise history. For the first time in what seems like forever, General Manager Don Sweeney has the cap space and the tradable assets to make multiple significant acquisitions to upgrade his roster. One avenue he needs to consider seriously is a trade for Martin Necas.

For those who don’t know, Martin Necas is a 25-year-old Czech-born winger currently rostered by the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s coming off a season in which he posted 24 goals, 29 assists, and 53 points in 77 regular-season games, as well as four goals, five assists, and nine points in 11 playoff games. I did a deep dive on Necas’ game and here are five reasons why I believe he’d be a great Bruin:

Carolina Cap Crisis

Some of you might be curious as to why a young winger with such impressive numbers is up for trade. The answer lies in the Carolina Hurricanes’ cap situation. Despite having around $ 24 million in cap space, they need to make some tough decisions due to the number of players they need to re-sign. With Seth Jarvis needing a new contract, Jacob Slavin looking for an extension, and nine other players from the 2023-24 squad heading to free agency, the Hurricanes may be forced to make some tough roster decisions.

There are also rumors that Necas wants to leave Carolina. On May 24’s episode of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast, Elliotte Friedman discussed this issue, even saying that Necas has told the team ‘he would like to move on.’ Sara Civian reported on this topic earlier in the year, indicating that Necas’ camp may help facilitate the trade.

Better Linemates in Boston

Although Necas put up respectable numbers this season, his real breakout came in 2022-23 when he posted 28 goals, 43 assists, and 71 points in 82 games. That year, he skated on the wing alongside veteran center Paul Stastny and power forward Andrei Svechnikov. This season was a different story, and Necas was forced to produce with significantly lower-quality players flanking him.

The Czech forward skated on three line combinations (with four different players) that spent at least 100 minutes together on the ice. Of those four players, none had more than 26 points at even strength throughout the year. The Hurricanes effectively left Necas on an island to generate offense and try to produce with lesser talent.

If traded to Boston, he would slot in next to David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha. Matching Necas with his two countrymen would allow him to compliment and enhance David Pastrnak’s playmaking abilities while allowing Pavel Zacha to develop his offensive game. Creating another Czech line would give the Bruins a legitimate top line, making even the best defensive pairs uneasy.

Need for Speed

The Boston Bruins have never been accused of being a fast team. Sure, they have some burners like Johnny Beecher and Jesper Boqvist, but none of their top-six forwards can be described as overly speedy skaters. In his end-of-year press conference, Cam Neely directly addressed the team’s need for speed, saying, “Obviously, this game is fast, and we’re not as fast as we’d like to be…But yeah, maybe a little faster and we’d like to see a little bit more 50/50 puck battle wins.”

(Photo Credit: NHLEdge)

Martin Necas would directly address Boston’s speed problem. NHLEdge tracks advanced puck and player statistics, including individual player speed. According to their metrics, Necas ranked in the 97th percentile of skaters during the 2023-24 season with a top speed of 23.68 mph. He’s consistently posted top speeds of that magnitude throughout his career, registering a top speed of 22.65 mph in 2022-23 and 23.95 mph in 2021-22.

But it isn’t just the start-to-stop straight-line speed that makes Necas’ skating game unique; it’s his ability to play with pace all over the ice. If we look at 18-20 mph, 20-22 mph, and 22+ mph speed bursts, Necas consistently ranks in the 98th percentile or higher. Simply put, the guy can flat-out fly and would add an element to Boston’s offense that we haven’t seen since the Taylor Hall trade.

Shot First Mentality

One of the things that drove Bruins fans insane during this year’s playoff run was the team’s inability to generate shots on goal. Of the 13 games Boston played this postseason, they only registered 25 or more shots on net thrice. The inability, or unwillingness, to get pucks on the net was a significant problem, and a player like Necas could be the solution.

Necas could also be the answer to the Bruins’ struggles on that front. He is one of the NHL’s most frequent shooters, consistently firing pucks on the net from all over the ice. During the 2023-24 regular season, he ranked 43rd in the league in shots (231), 44th in the league in shots on goal per 60, and 43rd in shot attempts per 60.

I know it’s not always as simple as getting more pucks to the net, but the Bruins could use a volume shooter who utilizes his shot to generate offense. It wouldn’t be an overnight fix, but Necas could add a dimension to the Bruins offense that it didn’t have this last season.

Power Play Boost

Boston’s offense was a source of frustration throughout this playoff run, but the most exasperating aspect was undoubtedly its powerplay, which faltered repeatedly in crucial moments. The Bruins, despite boasting elite talents like David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, finished the regular season with the league’s 14th-ranked power play, operating at 22.5 percent. This performance worsened during the postseason, dropping a little over one percentage point to 21.2 percent.

Necas was in a strange situation this year regarding special teams. He led all Hurricanes in power play time on ice in 2022-23 (236:28 minutes) and made the most of those moments, posting nine goals and 26 points. Despite that success, Carolina’s coaching staff significantly decreased his powerplay time in 2023-24 (158:58), resulting in only eight goals and 13 points.

Acquiring Necas would be an immense boost to Boston’s man advantage, especially given his propensity to shoot the puck. Necas moves well with the puck, has an excellent shot, and would be a significant upgrade over Pavel Zacha, Charlie Coyle, and James Van Riemsdyk in the bumper spot or at the front of the net. Bring him to Boston, and the special teams play will improve.

A trade for Necas would be a challenging proposition for the Bruins. They are lucky that Carolina needs a goaltender, and Linus Ullmark fits their bill, but it’ll require more than a one-for-one deal to acquire Necas. That being said, if you keep future first-round picks Mason Lohrei and Matt Poitras out of any potential deal, a trade for Necas would be a no-brainer.