St. Louis Blues 2017 Draft Prospects: Martin Necas

Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks on stage before the start of the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks on stage before the start of the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagra Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues have to dig deeper into their scouting reports than many teams do. While the Blues have yet to win the big one, they consistently finish well enough to keep them away from the top prospects.

Nobody in their right mind would trade the St. Louis Blues recent success for a failed season just to get some higher draft picks. That said, the Blues scouting department has to dig a little deeper than other franchises.

With the team regularly finishing with 100 points or more the last half-decade, it has made the summers a little more difficult. Granted, that is part of why general managers earn so much, but the Blues have not had too many easy drafts.

They have come up with some decent ones in recent memory, last year in particular. Tage Thompson has not exploded onto the scene, but if he keeps growing, he’ll be in the NHL quite soon and potentially be an impact player.

Jordan Kyrou might struggle with the physicality of the pro game, but he has the skills. He just scored 30 goals and had 94 points for the Sarnia Sting.

This year’s draft is not considered as deep or impressive as 2016’s, but there are still gems to be mined. The Blues will need to break out their heavy-duty pickaxes though.

One of the first names being discussed is a European youngster from the Czech league. Martin Necas (pronounced Nechas) has already played his first professional season and got himself seen by scouts.

I’m not going to jump up and down if this is the Blues selection come June 23. Most Blues fans would not be either.

Necas has not lit the world on fire, but he’s a young product and playing in a different system. European teams aren’t always as wide open as Canadian Junior hockey tends to be. So, you cannot sit there and stare at a box score alone and hope to figure out a player’s value.

In 41 games in the Cezch league, Necas scored 15 points with seven goals. Before anyone freaks out, you must remember that he is 18 playing against men.

He scored much more on the international scene. For the Czech U-18 team, he put up four goals and 13 points in 15 games.

For the U-20 team, he had two goals and six points in eight games. When he was playing for the U-16 team, he put up 149 points in 72 games. Those are averages that are much more palatable.

Necas would likely be a longer-term project. You don’t have the obstacles in front of you like the KHL puts up, but it is becoming hit or miss whether you get European prospects into North America at the time you want.

His size would be an issue as well. He’s currently listed at 6’1 and 168 lbs. That’s not small, but he definitely has to get bigger and stronger to play the pro game in the NHL if he wants.

The intangibles are what could make him an exciting player if he could translate to the North American game.

Yes, it is true that anyone can look good in highlights. However, the things he was doing are exactly what the Blues need and are not doing right now.

If he stayed as a center, he would be one of the team’s first in awhile that actually seem like they want to shoot the puck. He’s never likely going to be your leading goal scorer, but that’s not what you need. You want someone who is going to pass first, but not look to pass all the time.

Secondly, he was going toward the net. Not just on the break in the first highlight, but the second he was in the dirty areas.

Not everyone has to be a net-front presence the way David Backes was. But you have to be willing to get in there and at least pounce on rebounds just to the side. From the brief things I’ve seen of him, he seems to have that ability.

Next: Blues Must Be Themselves, Not A Copy

Again, we are not likely talking about a franchise altering player. However, those are few and far between even if you have the top pick.

Necas is a development, but with the right surroundings and drive, he could make it. If nothing else, the Blues have two first round picks in 2017, so one miss would not hurt you too much.