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Friday, July 20, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Offseason Player Profile: Tomas Plekanec

Tomas Plekanec - C
5'11" 198 lbs
2011-12 Stats 81GP- 17G- 35A- 52 Pts- -15

The Cost 

Plekanec just completed the second year of his six-year contract worth $5 million per year.

Anybody who truly follows the Habs knows that Plekanec is well worth the price tag.

It would be hard to find a GM not willing to pay that type of money to any player who can play effectively at both ends of the ice, in any situation, and never complain.

Performance

Don't let Plekanec's plus/minus rating in 2011-12 fool you. His -15 was, which the worst differential of his career and only the second time he finished below zero.

That being said, on a team that was as disastrous as the Habs were last season, it would be hard for any player averaging 20:45 minutes a game to do any better.

For years Plekanec hasn't been used properly. While an incredibly effective penalty killer, his abundance of PK time — 3:13 minutes per game — second among forwards behind Maxime Talbot's 3:29, has been effecting his point production.

His 52 points are hardly a fair reflection of his potential. When you factor in the amount of time on ice he focuses on defense and his revolving door of wingers, you start to wonder how the 50 point mark was even possible.

Plekanec played with roughly 20 different combination of wingers last season making it nearly impossible to muster up any chemistry.

With names like Travis Moen, Rene Bourque and Mathieu Darche playing alongside him, it is enough to make anybody aware of what Plekanec is capable of offensively cringe.

Just imagine what kind of numbers Plekanec could have put up alongside Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole.

The Fit

With any luck, the addition of Michel Therrien will bring change to the way Plekanec has been used.

With the assumption that David Desharnais will remain in between Cole and Pacioretty, it's vital that Plekanec is surrounded by talent as well.

Unless Marc Bergevin can sign a top six winger — and there are not many out there — or bring in some outside help via trade, Pleks will be flanked by Bourque as well as captain Brian Gionta.

Plekanec will also remain an important part of the PK unit, but the acquisitions of Colby Armstrong and Brandon Prust will hopefully give him more of a break when a man down.

Who would you like to see placed on Plekanec's wing? And how many points do you see him collecting if provided with talented and consistant line mates?



Check out other player profiles:

Ryan White
Travis Moen
Brandon Prust
Colby Armstrong
Carey Price
Lars Eller
Francis Bouillon


---
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com You can follow Sean on Twitter.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)

12 comments:

truth is was\am hoping the habs make a move on Semin for that role... but alas them be pipe dreams I think if they havent moved yet :(

Good stuff Sean!

Could not agree more, it is a minor miracle that Pleks hit the 50 point plateau given his wingers.

Having said that, should Bergevin ever pull the trigger on a trade, I have long felt that Pleks is the best candidate to move. After all, to get something, you have to give something in return!

@Anon

Them be pipe dreams indeed. But, if Semin could sign for "cheap" (3-4 mil) on a one-year deal, I suppose there are worse risks to take.

At this point and 13 million 2 year deal would be worth it for Semin. If we do not get him or Doan, we will have to hope for the best from Bourque- who I see as a better fit with Eller and Armstrong. There will always be injuries (like Gio last year) and if we go in to the season with only 5 top six guys, we are looking at another top 5 pick in 2013...

If the offer sheets are flying... why not go after Evander Kane?

Hello Sean,

I agree 100% with you. And for me he is one of the best two-way fowards in the League.

But the only way to have the best of him (both offensively and defensively) is praying for (all) gods to give us a brake on the injuries. We need to have Moen, Prust, Armstrong and Gionta healths all season long to help Pleks on the P.K. and playing against the top lines.

Adding Eller to that mix, giving him (little) more defensive responsabilities will be good for Pleks too. Eller is read for this IMO. A third line like Moen-Eller-Armstrong(Prust) can play important minutes against the those top lines.

At least for now, Bourque-Pleks-Gionta is what we have as a good and well balanced second line. If this line can play the first 15-20 games together we can see if the chemistry is there.

Adding a new LW via Free agents? Trades?...let's see what Mr. Bergevin will do about it...

PS.: sorry about my english!
PS.: I just can't think in add Gomez on that mix...sorry

cheers,

Walmyr (from Brazil).

@Brazil.... no need to be sorry... I dont think anybody puts Gomez anywhere but at home as a write off...lol

I don't think we can afford to trade our number 2 Center at this stage. Adding a 2nd line winger would be great but I think we will be waiting to see what happens with the new CBA and if we can get Gomez off the books.

Does anyone think there is a chance Galchenyuk starts the season as a 2nd line winger?
If he has a good camp I would not be surprised as they do have that 9 game window and he has played the wing before. It would be a lot less pressure to start as a winger.

Pleks is a true warrior, and while it might not be everyone's favorite optin, for now a Bourque/Plekanec/Gionta line should be interesting to watch.

If they click, the Habs could be in great shape with the beefed up bottom 6 Bergevin went out and bought.


@Hockeyhype

I think there is a chacne we see Galchenyuk on the 2nd line wing spot, but for my money, assuming he gets a 9 game trial, he might be better suited on the 3rd line, which might bump Eller up onto the wing on the 2nd unit.

That could actually end up working in our favor, in the end.

The question is, though, will Galchenyuk last longer than 9 games in the NHL? (I personally don't think so, unless he absolutely lights it up - another year in Sarnia won't hurt).

Anon

I agree that another year in Sarnia is probably best for his`development but I think there is a good chance he shows more natural offensive talent than anyone on the current roster. That could prove too tempting for the Habs brass. If he comes into camp with an extra 10 lbs of muscle and in top shape......watch out!

Stop trying to trade away Pleks. He's our Elias. Why on earth would you want to get rid of one of our best players(a proven asset) for an unknown entity. You tell me for Toews, I'm good with that, but even if this could happen, you don't know how he will play in Montreal. Is everyone so scared the young guys we have aren't going to contribute.
Geez give it a chance.

I think you grossly overrate Plekanec in this article ignoring two of his biggest faults.

1. He's a turnover machine
2. He's not really that great at Faceoffs.

@Brazil
Thanks for reading! I am pretty interested in see what chemistry the Bourque-Plek-Gio line will have. Bourque gave no reason for anyone to be optimistic about his play but I am not ready to give up on him like most people have.

I'm with Anon3 on the Kane front. Wouldn't mind seeing him in a Habs uniform

@HH
I hope 9 games is all Gally sees this year. Missing all that time in junior due to his injury can't be good for his development. He would have to be pretty damn impressive to make the jump full time.

@Kylef
Unfortunately the Habs haven't had a true faceoff man since Perrault, you are right in that aspect of Pleks performance.

And turnover machine may be an exageration...he's no Subban (88 to pleks 48)

Kovulchuk, Getz, Thornton, Yandle, Malkin, Chara, Doughty, Alfie, Seabrook and Iggy are just a handful of players that have more turnovers that Pleks last year.

Doesn't take much away from what they provide their teams with though.

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