Centreman Tomas Plekanec’s no-trade clause will keep him in Montreal for six seasons.
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• AUDIO: Tomas Plekanec conference call
Tomas Plekanec probably could have fetched more on the open market, an unrestricted free agent come July 1.
But the popular centreman likes Montreal, made no secret of that and, like defenceman Andrei Markov before him a few seasons ago, chose to pass on the UFA route by today signing a six-year contract estimated to be worth $30 million.
Plekanec has a no-trade clause in the deal, but he wouldn’t say for how much of the contract that exists. He also wouldn’t address whose idea it was to sign for six years, referring both points to GM Pierre Gauthier.
The native of Kladno, Czech Republic had a career-best 70 points during the 2009-2010 season (25
goals and 45 assists). He was also a fixture on the team’s power-play and penalty-killing units while taking important defensive zone faceoffs.
Although only 5-foot-11 and generously listed at 198 pounds, Plekanec has missed only four games over the last four seasons.
There was speculation he could have drawn as much as $6 million per in the UFA market. He was the 71st overall by Montreal in the third round of the 2001 NHL Entry
Draft and has played his entire career with the Canadiens.
The signings today of Plekanec and Mathieu Darche leave the Canadiens with less than $9 million in salary cap space. Still unsigned: Carey Price, Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt, Dominic Moore, Glen Metropolit, Maxim Lapierre, Marc-André Bergeron and Sergei Kostitsyn.
Mike Boone and Kevin Mio contributed to this post wih early reporting.
Canadiens’ release on Tomas Plekanec: