Michel Therrien certainly leaned on Tomas Plekanec in a more defensive role this
past season and his personal statistics showed it. That being said, Montreal were a top ten GAA team and a top five penalty killing team with Plekanec playing a large role in both achievements.
Will that continue in 2014-15 or will Plekanec be asked to shoulder more of the
The 43 points he scored during the season were his worse totals since the 2008-09 campaign. However, there are silver linings in these stats. He hit the 20-goal mark for the sixth time in his nine career seasons with the Canadiens, his +11 rating had him tied for second on the team with David Desharnais and he managed three shorthanded goals, after scoring none, albeit in a shortened season, last year. Aside from Max Pacioretty’s team-leading 11 game winning goals, Plekanec was top of the team with five GWG’s. While I felt he looked to be slowing down at points during the season and the playoffs, he continued to be a defensive anchor for the Canadiens with some offensive spark and timely goals.
Season Stats: GP 81, G 20, A 23, PTS 43, +/- +11, PIM , PPG 3, SHG 3, GWG 5, SOG 199, ATOI 19:46
5 Year Averages
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13’s numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
There’s nothing that I see changing for the way Plekanec will be deployed and used within Michel Therrien’s system this season. He’s a good two-way player that will shoulder the defensive responsibility he will undoubtedly be given while joining the attack as the opportunity arises. He’ll be looked at as a veteran presence and expected to be a leader with the departure of Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges. He might even be a candidate for the captaincy, although it would appear Marc Bergevin’s looking for more of a youth movement.
I can’t really see a huge bounce back season offensively for Plekanec, although I did think his point total was a little low this past year. Maybe a winger with a scoring touch will pump up those assist totals, but, as mentioned throughout this piece, he’s leaned on defensively and will likely command minutes that mean he’ll be in his own zone, against top opposition lines, rather than buzzing around the offensive
end. I’d take another 20 goal season from him, and I think that’s achievable. He
has slowed down a little but smart veterans who’ve been around know the right tweaks to milk the season.