Could the Montreal Canadiens trade Tomas Plekanec this season? Are the Ottawa Senators still looking to add a veteran player?
Could Galchenyuk shift to center mean the end of Plekanec in Montreal?
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jack Todd, in a short piece regarding the upcoming selection of a new captain for the Montreal Canadiens, suggests Tomas Plekanec (“arguably the most under-rated player ever to wear the CH”) for the role. However, if its true the Canadiens might move Plekanec to make room for Alex Galchenyuk at center, then “all bets are off.” Todd expresses doubt that Galchenyuk is ready to play as full-time center on the top two lines, saying he wouldn’t be surprised if Galchenyuk is moved back to the wing by Halloween, “in which case the whole “trade Plekanec” thing is on hold, if, indeed, it was ever a possibility.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plekanec’s eligibility for UFA status next July and his recent admission there’s been no contract extension talks with management undoubtedly prompted the trade speculation among those with over-active imaginations. Even if moving Galchenyuk to center proves a roaring success, the Canadiens won’t trade Plekanec, as they’ll need his two-way skills during the regular season and playoffs.
If the Habs name Plekanec their captain, that will signal their intent to re-sign him, though I expect they’ll try to keep him even if they name someone else to the captaincy. I can see the Canadiens attempting to ink Plekanec to a three-year deal worth maybe around his current annual cap hit of $5 million. He turns 33 in October, so the Habs won’t want to commit more than three years or to go too far above $5 million annually. I also expect they’ll evaluate his performance over the course of the season before opening contract talks.
If the Canadian dollar remains at its current level (around .75 cents US), the salary cap isn’t likely to rise very much next summer, which could give the Habs some leverage in contract talks with Plekanec. While superstars like Steven Stamkos and Anze Kopitar will still get top dollar, second-tier talent like Plekenac could find lucrative deals hard to come by outside of Montreal.
Latest on the Senators.
OTTAWA SUN: In an interview with Bruce Garrioch, Senators general manager Bryan Murray attempted to bring in another experienced player for the upcoming season, but was unable to do so for “a variety of reasons”. While he hasn’t ruled out that possibility, Murray is hopeful his young players are capable of getting the job done. He noted center Jean-Gabriel Pageau will get an opportunity for regular ice time, and expects improvement from forwards Bobby Ryan and Alex Chiasson, as well as defenseman Jared Cowen. He also points out they’ll have Marc Methot on defense for the start of the season, Patrick Wiercioch’s Team Canada participation had a big influence on the rearguard, Cody Ceci looks bigger and there could be improvements by forwards Zack Smith and Curtis Lazar.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If most of the players noted by Murray improve this season, the Senators will be in good shape and won’t have to look elsewhere for depth. The pressure is certainly on Ryan, Chiasson and Cowen, who were disappointing last season.