Enough flex to sign Pleks?

Now that we know the Canadiens MVP didn’t have his knee destroyed by Mattias Ohlund last night, let’s get back to the math problem:

Will the team sign Tomas Plekanec?

And for how much?


Here are the current roster players who are under contract for the 2010-’11 season, with their salaries (data from nhlnumbers.com):

Scott Gomez …….  $8 million

Mike Cammalleri … $6.25 million

Brian Gionta ……….$5 million

Andrei Kostitsyn …..$3.25 million

Travis Moen …………$1.5 million

Andrei Markov ………$5.75 million

Roman Hamrlik ……..$5.5 million

Jaro Spacek ………….$3.833 million

Hal Gill ………………..$2.25 million

Josh Gorges ………….$1.3 million

Ryan O’Byrne ………..$1.4 million

That’s a shade over $44 million for 11 players. Plus $1.5 million for Georges Laraque.

Six defencemen are under contract for next season. If, as expected, P.K. Subban makes the team, that will add a modest $875,000 to the payroll.

Five forwards are signed. Most coaches like to play 4 lines, so that’s seven more contracts.

Did I mention goaltending?

Carey Price and Jaro Halak are Restricted Free Agents on July 1. One of them will be signing a new contract – well in excess of $850,000 (Price’s current salary) or $800,000 (Halak).

Let’s say $2 million to $3 million per for goaltending.

We’re inching up toward $50 million … and we still haven’t accounted for impending RFAs Benoit Pouliot (who’s making $803,000), Sergei Kostitsyn (($585,000) and Maxim Lapierre ($800,000).

Dominic Moore ($1.1 million), Glen Metropolit ($1 million) and Mathieu Darche ($600,000) will be UFAs whom the club may or may not want to re-sign.

Tomas Plekanec is making $2.75 million and having the best season of his career.

He’s 10th in the league in scoring among centres with 19 goals and a career-best 44 assists.

Pleks is used on the PP and the PK. He’s taken 1,379 faceoffs this season – a total exceeded only by Sidney Crosby and Paul Stastny.

Plekanec is one of only three Canadiens – Kelowna Rockets alumni Travis Moen and Josh Gorges are the others – who have played all 68 games this season. Pleks played 81 games in 2006-’07, 81 in ’07-’08 and 80 last season.

We’re talking durability (esopecially for a smaller guy) – and desirability, because this will not be a bumper crop for free-agent forwards.

If he doesn’t sign by July 1, I rate Plekanec behind only Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrick Marleau among likely UFAs.

He’s said he wants to stay in Montreal.

Well and good.

But Plekanec is 27. This summer represents his big kick at the free-agent can.

What kind of contract might he command on the open market?

Here are some comparables:

Tim Connolly is signed for two seasons in Buffalo at $4.5 per.

Stastny will make $6.6 million in each season of his five-year contract in Colorado.

I’d  have laughed off any comparison to Ryan Getzlaf last summer, but Pleks has two points more than Anaheim’s top centre, who’s making $5.125 million in the second year of a five-year deal that tops out at $6.125 million.

Jeff Carter is at $5 million and will make $5.5 next season.

Jason Spezza is working on a contract that pays him $45 million over six years.

Is there a general manager willing to offer Tomas Plekanec $5 million or $6 million per?

Is that general manager’s name Pierre Gauthier?

Stay tuned.



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