Habs centreman Tomas Plekanec.
As we count down to Monday’s 3 p.m. NHL trading deadline, it’s easy to pick out Montreal players who are available. But there’s one surprise among the players being offered by the Canadiens.
Tomas Plekanec, who has been with the Canadiens his entire NHL career, has been the subject of talks with several teams. While the Canadiens have dropped out of the playoff hunt and are looking forward to next season, they want an established player in return for Plekanec, preferably a winger with some size.
Plekanec said Friday that he wasn’t aware of being the subject of any trade talks. Agent Rick Curran Sunday denied a suggestion that the veteran centre has been asked about waiving his no-trade clause, which is part of the six-year, $30-million deal he signed in 2010.
Plekanec takes pride in the fact he has spent his entire career with one organization but the frustrations of a losing season and the challenge of having to adapt to a parade of different wingers may have led to a belief that a change of scenery would be best for both parties.
Plekanec, who was drafted by the Canadiens in the third round (71st overall) in 2001, was the Canadiens’ leading scorer in each of the past two seasons. His production has dipped this season but can be easily explained by the fact that he hasn’t been able to develop any chemistry with his linemates.
While David Desharnais has had the luxury of playing with Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole for most of the season, Plekanec has been a part of 18 different line combinations. The longest stretch for any of those lines to play together was 11 games when he was between Michael Cammalleri and Brian Gionta. Injuries sabotaged that line and it didn’t help that when Cammalleri was healthy, he complained about his ice time and expressed a desire to play with Desharnais.