The Canadiens’ Old Faithful, Tomas Plekanec, remained the ever reliable two-way centre fans have come to expect year in and year out last season. He continued to contribute within his point scoring range, albeit in the higher reaches of those ranges. An all-around presence on the ice, both offensively and defensively, he also made up a strong component of Montreal’s penalty kill, and it’s misfiring power play.
Plekanec had a very good year offensively, scoring the second most goals and third most points in his 11 year NHL career. He continued to be the most, if not one of the most, underrated two-way centres in the game. He helped guide Montreal to the (tied) for seventh best penalty kill in the league while maintaining a positive +/- rating as he lined up against some of the league’s best lines at 5 on 5.
It was certainly a bounce back year from an up and down campaign the previous season, where he posted one of his lowest point scoring totals of his career. Flanked with a revolving door of wingers, it turned out to work out just fine for the 32-year old. While he was also a staple on the beleaguered power play, he was one of the few who actually took advantage of the extra man.
Season Stats: GP 82, G 26, A 34, PTS 60, +/- +8, PIM 46, PPG 7, SHG 3, GWG 5, SOG 248, ATOI 17:13
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.)
At this point in his career, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say two-way specialist with offensive upside. Basically the same guy, with the same turtlenecks doing the same things he’s been doing for a decade. While he’s had two seasons that have been off his usual tallies in the last ten years, you can pretty much tab this guy to be a 20-goal and 50-point scorer.
It gets a little more interesting that this happens to be a contract year for the Canadiens lifer. While he’s an important cog across the board for the club, should there be a rough start or the team dips in form, or even an opportunity to flip him for another asset, a move wouldn’t be unfathomable. Anything can happen during contract years, especially if he’s looking for some serious coin.
As mentioned earlier, it’s rare that Plekanec doesn’t hit around the same area of point totals on a yearly basis. He’ll more than likely get his 20 goals and with the talent the top-six wingers the Canadiens boast, adding at least another 30 assists shouldn’t be an issue.
He’ll continue to get his time on special teams, and that’s where he steps above many 20/50 guys. He scores on the power play and he scores on the penalty kill. His contributions are timely so game winners always come into play. He’s not afraid to shoot the puck, having taken a career high 248 shots last season, and he has a knack for getting it in danger areas around the net.
And he’s always healthy. Or at least healthy enough to suit up having missed only 14 games in the last 9 seasons.