Trade Talk: Tomas Plekanec

Photo: Steven Irwin, SNI Authentic

There may not be a player that has better embodied the Montreal Canadiens –for better or worse– over the last 15 years than Tomas Plekanec.


Before, Tomas was overly skilled and undersized.  He was mobile and productive but lacking in physicality and would throw the puck away to avoid being hit (certainly a helping factor in him attaining this kind of longevity) on a team that was full of guys that played the same way with the same successes and criticisms alike.  Now, Tomas finds himself as hard pressed to produce offence as most anyone else on the team; the stars just never aligning as the squad goes accused of being too much one thing, too much of the other and never enough of a mixture of the two to formulate the ultimate success.


Through his highs of constant 20 goal (nearly 30 one year) seasons, 70 points in the 2007-08 season and willingly going to the task defensively against the best opposition the league has had to offer, Tomas Plekanec has quietly contributed quite the career to the Montreal Canadiens exclusively; and if he has it his way, it will stay that way.


More clearly, Tomas Plekanec has simply “expressed his desire to remain in Montreal for the rest of his career” and it only makes the situation tougher to bear from an emotional standpoint.  That considered, his contract is set to expire on July 1st and in a season where the Montreal Canadiens on-ice product has been about as exciting as a coma and each losing game draws on seemingly longer than anything else with the exception of the droughts between goals produced by this team.


The case with emotional bias is easy: just extend him, his cap hit won’t be so high, he’s stuck with this team after being drafted during dire times and played a significant role in making this team competitive again, you can always rent him out at the end of this deal, so on and so forth.


There are a couple problems here…


Photo: Steven Irwin, SNI Authentic


If this is a loyalty issue, why hold someone down when they have been so devout to the Canadiens organization? Why not reward Tomas by giving him an opportunity to play for a Stanley Cup even if this team won’t have that this season? Loyalty would mean both sides reaching an agreement for him to sign back in Montreal come July 1st, not dragging him down with a sinking team for the rest of the season.  The same people suggesting that the issue is loyalty have contradicted themselves with the idea of renting him out at the end of his next hypothetical extension.  Why wait until then to rent him out? What purpose does that serve other than lessening the return for him and taking away at least one chance at the Stanley Cup?


One would suggest to anyone that’s uncertain of what to do in this situation to put themselves in Tomas’ turtleneck for a moment…


Plekanec is 35 years old.  The league is getting younger all the time with more NHL ready 18, 19 and 20 year olds finding today’s game often geared towards their play style.  The days of 20 goal seasons appear to be a memory of seasons gone by for Tomas now but he can still contribute.  He seems to have lost “it” somewhere following the extension that led to this now expiring contract as the game has perhaps begun to pass him by.  Say he were to be kept through the deadline and did get an extension of another two years; what evidence would there be to suggest that he would draw as much in return as he would now?


Tomas Plekanec, like others of his era, has been the victim of a team with attractive pieces and a fighting chance but has otherwise been improperly built on a foundation that did not consist of a proper rebuild.  In embodying the successes and the struggles of the Montreal Canadiens in perhaps equal shares, one could not blame either side for wanting to move on from this era.


The demand for strong depth centers at this time of year is simply too great to pass up and the cost that teams are willing to pay for them is equally impressive.  The likely reason for such? One would be hard pressed to find a Stanley Cup winner in this era that has not acquired a center during deadline season.  The market demand places them at such extremes that players the likes of Martin Hanzal (with a mid-round pick and former Canadien Ryan White) can draw a return consisting of 1st and 2nd round draft picks plus a prospect and more.  Hanzal, the example used, had 26 points at the time of being traded.  With Tomas Plekanec having 21 points, if assessed on that basis alone plus knowing his defensive prowess, he may not draw the same level of return but what he would likely fetch should not be underrated.


Most of all… in the event of a return to this team, would Tomas not want to come back to this team after a playoff run knowing that there are new assets within the fold that will help the team? One would have to think it would be a feeling of reinforcement and inspiration to know that everyone profited from the exchange.


The only loyalty owed by Montreal Canadiens fans is to follow Tomas Plekanec wherever he may go and to support him in his pursuit along the way.

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One Response to Trade Talk: Tomas Plekanec

  1. he may want to finish his career in Montreal but I feel if traded and he sees how other teams treat their players then he is not coming back…why would he come back to a team with Julien and Bergy running the show…remember we had a player dedicated to us, took hometown deals his whole career and he was thrown to the wind by Bergy….Bergy has no loyalty..

    Bay_Bye February 17, 2018 at 5:54 pm Reply

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