33-Year-Old Center – Montreal Canadiens
Tomas Plekanec Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $12 million contract extension with the Canadiens in October of 2015.
Plekanec dished out two helpers in a 4-2 win over Carolina on Thursday.
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Tomas Plekanec: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Plekanec continued to be a valuable part of the Canadiens, playing on both special team units while finishing second on the team in goals scored (20) and fourth in points (43) in 81 games. With the team shedding captain Brian Gionta, Plekanec loses a linemate but he should get the "C" that was on Gionta's jersey. He's well respected in the room and will resume his role as the team's second-line center, likely leading the forwards in ice time. We expect the offensively gifted Alex Galchenyuk on one wing, while Rene Bourque will get his first look on the other.
Plekanec came off a sub-par 2011-12 season to post 33 points in 47 games during 2012-13, improving to plus-3 after a disastrous minus-15 the year prior. Unlike the previous season, Plekanec had steady linemates who were capable of offensive play and he looked like the player we've grown accustomed to seeing. He plays in all situations and is habitually Montreal's leading forward in terms of minutes played. With an improving team that's added scoring punch, Plekanec should continue to post good point totals.
Plekanec scored 17 goals in 2011-12, the first time in six seasons he was under 20 while also posting a career worst minus-15 in what was a trying season for the eight-year veteran. He got caught up in some line shuffling early on and was off the top line, trying to be productive with a rotating cast of wingers and underachievers. The Canadiens need Plekanec and Brian Gionta to bounce back, with the two likley to open the season as the mainstays on the second line. Rene Bourque may skate on the left wing to fill out the redepmtion line --all three had a sub-par 2011-12 season. However the lines shake up, you know Plekanec will lead all forwards in ice time and give owners that snagged him late in drafts a healthy dose of assists.
Plekanec led the Canadiens in scoring for the second straight season and was Montrealís most consistent forward from October to April. If the Habs can get rebound performances from some of their top-six guys, Plekanec should do better than his 57 points in 2010-11. Heíll open the season centering a line with Erik Cole and Michael Cammalleri.
Plekanec had a team-best 70 points last year, finishing with 25 goals and 45 assists. He'll probably be paired on the first line with Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn, so look for him to have another outstanding season, with roughly the same production with a few added points to boot. Entering the prime of his career, Plekanec just re-signed a nice six-year deal to remain a Canadien until 2016.
Plekanec's numbers were a down in 2008-09, especially his assist numbers. He had 20 goals and just 19 assists, which was a career low. This low assist total may have been due to the fact that coach Guy Carbonneau shifted players between lines so much and it was difficult to form chemistry with the players on the ice. Plekanec's 311 games played since he was drafted in 2001 are seventh most among centers in the 2001 draft class. He has played in all but four Habs' games in the past three seasons, so he has proven to be durable. He is the only Canadiens player to net at least 20 goals in each of the past three seasons. If Montreal can stick with a more consistent group of lines, Plekanec should be able to recreate, or at least come close, to the success he had in the 2007-08 season.
Plekanec established himself as a bone-fide top-six forward during the latter half of the 2006-07 season when he scored 35 points in a 40-game span from late Dec. 23-March 26. Pleks proved that 40-game spurt was no fluke when he finished second in team scoring last season with 69 points. The line of Plekanec centering Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn was electric and there's a good chance that it will stay intact in 2008-09, regardless of the team's acquisition of French-Canadian scoring forward Tanguay. The greater threat is the arrival of fellow center Robert Lang. Lang and Kovalev enjoyed career seasons together as linemates in Pittsburgh seven years ago and there may be a temptation by the Habs' brass to unite them. That wouldn't be catastrophic, however, as Plekanec also enjoyed good chemistry last season with the Kostitsyn brothers on the second power-play unit. It's reasonably safe to think of Plekanec as a 65+ point center this year.
Pleks' game really took off in the second half of the season (35 points in a 40-game span from Dec. 23-March 26) and he finished with 20 goals and 47 points in 81 games with an impressive plus-10. That second-half surge should cement him as the second line center this season and a further uptick in production is within reach. His linemates should include the up-and-coming Latendresse and also Kovalev. If Kovalev ever reverts back to his former self, it would get really interesting.
Now centering Alexei Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov, the young Czech has a chance to vault his career forward with a big season. With only 99 shots in 67 games last year, Plekanec will need to shoot the puck more as he'll be most likely afforded the most room on the ice with the Russian veterans drawing the most attention.
Plekanec has been the best farm hand in this organization for the last two years. He seems poised to make the club and contribute now. Heís got vision, offensive skill and decent speed. If he plays well enough, he could end up on the second line as the left winger. Plekanec is probably getting his last chance with the Habs this fall.