Neсаs not worrіed аbout сontrасt stаtus wіtһ Hurrісаnes

Forward, who can become restricted free agent July 1, enjoying gold medal win with Czechia at World Championship

Martin Necas at Worlds

Martin Necas isn’t quite ready to contemplate his future.

Necas, who can become a restricted free agent with the Carolina Hurricanes on July 1 and has been the subject of frequent trade rumors, is instead enjoying the present after winning the gold medal at home with Czechia at the 2024 IIHF World Championship on Sunday.

“We’ll see what’s going to happen,” the 25-year-old forward said. “I don’t really care right now. What’s going to happen is going to happen. My agent is going to deal with that. We’re going to figure it out. Now I’m going to celebrate this medal and I’m going to enjoy it for a while.

“It’s hard to describe it right now. As a young kid here in Czechia … you always dream about two things since you were young. One of them is winning the Stanley Cup, which didn’t happen obviously this year. It hasn’t happened yet. But winning the World Championship at home, in front of our home crowd, this is something I would consider definitely all of our highlight of our career. It’s something we will remember forever.”

Necas was available to play for Czechia after the Hurricanes were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on May 16, six days after the tournament began.

When asked if not having a contract in place for next season crossed his mind when making his decision to join mid-tournament, Necas gave a blunt response.

“Who cares?” he said. “This is a thing that could only happen once in my life because you never know when it’s going to be back and if I’ll be playing (in the) playoffs. I wasn’t thinking about that. There was no doubt in my head that I wouldn’t go.

“Once we got out, my mind went over here. I was watching the games before. The crowd and the whole country has been living with hockey for a month or so. It’s unbelievable. You just feel the energy. It feels amazing. The crowd pushed us through all the way to the finals and we got it done today.

“I’m speechless. This is something that I’ve been dreaming of. This was incredible.”

David Pastrnak, who joined Czechia after the Boston Bruins were eliminated by the Florida Panthers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on May 17, was happy to have Necas along for the ride.

“I’m proud of him,” Pastrnak said. “It’s hard to say no. We never play at home. We play overseas. Family always has to fly over to see us. This time we could come home and let them see us here. It was hard I think for him. I’m glad everything went well. He didn’t get hurt, and he won the gold medal. Perfectly written script for him.”

Necas, who had 53 points (24 goals, 29 assists) in 77 games for Carolina this season, finished the World Championship with seven points (one goal, six assists) in five games for Czechia.

“He’s almost so fast you can’t see what he’s doing out there,” defenseman Radko Gudas said. “It’s fun. Every time he’s winding up you want to give him the puck and put your hands in the air. He was great. He gave another element to our lineup and he didn’t look back at all.

“I mean, he’s got his heart in the right place. He wanted to do this. Everyone wanted to come and represent their country in front of their home crowd. It’s a dream come true to be able to play in front of the Czech Republic. I’m just happy that he made that decision. He was a big part of our success today, yesterday and the last week.”

Necas admitted he felt he hit another gear on the international stage.

It’s a feeling he’s hoping to bring back to the NHL next season, regardless of where he’s playing.

“I feel like I play my best when I’m enjoying hockey, and here I’m enjoying hockey 110 percent,” Necas said. “I loved it. I haven’t played for the Czech national team for five or six years, and being able to be here with all the guys … an incredible group inside is how it started and we translated it on the ice and this (gold medal) thing happened.”

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