Tomas Plekanec is once again the subject of people’s trade wishes. It seems he continues to be underappreciated for what he does and overlooked for what he doesn’t.
STATS: 81 Games | 20 G-23 A = 43 P | 38 PIM | +11 | 45.5% Corsi | 5.2 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 17 games | 4 G-5 A = 9 P | 8 PIM | -7 | 44.1% Corsi
STORY: Tomas Plekanec scored 20 goals this season. Did that surprise you? It definitely surprised me.
He is known as someone who struggles offensively for a top-six center. However, he was able to have one of his best seasons. For him to finish +11 in the role that he plays is a testament to his ability.
In the playoffs, he did struggle a little bit. He was given different linemates throughout and didn’t always have chemistry with them – see Vanek, Thomas. Plekanec was often the subject of CBC criticisms that he cannot be a defensive stalwart and a minus at the same time.
At the same time, those criticisms came from P.J. Stock, so, you know. Plekanec is what he is. A solid two-way center not in the Patrice Bergeron/Anze Kopitar category but one just below. He would make any team better.
When it comes to expectations, Plekanec is solid there. He didn’t surprise but he didn’t disappoint, either. He had a very good season and will continue to be a huge part of this team until Alex Galchenyuk is ready to be a full-time center.
Plekanec is also someone who comes under pressure for not scoring as much as he should. Again he had been miscast as a No. 1 scoring center much like Saku Koivu was when he was in Montreal. Plekanec is an elite No. 2 center but falls short of a No. 1 role. That’s perfectly fine. It’s not a knock on Plekanec as much as it’s a visible reason for the lack of happiness surrounding his play from fans and media.
FUTURE: Plekanec is currently Montreal’s highest paid forward with two years left at $5 million per season. That is a solid contract.
Plekanec should take the same role next season, but will likely have different wingers. The Canadiens would need to replace Brian Gionta if he is not returning and give Plekanec either a reliable two-way winger or some scoring help.
I wouldn’t mind Plekanec with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher as a hybrid offence/defence line.
2016-17: Unrestricted Free-Agent