Looks like there’s another quality, veteran forward heading into the year with no guarantee of a contract extension.
Tomas Plekanec, one of Montreal’s top centers and point producers over the last few years, is about to embark on the last of a six-year, $30 million contract — but has yet to discuss a new deal with the club.
“I’m not going to ask them if they want me,” Plekanec joked on Tuesday, per the Canadian Press. “If they want me, they would call, I guess.
“Should I call and ask, ‘Do you want me here?’ I have a phone number. I think it’s up to (general manager Marc Bergevin). If he wants me, I’m sure he’ll call the agent and start talking.”
Plekanec, who turns 33 in October, is an interesting case study.
Last year, he scored 60 points — his highest total since signing the six-year deal — and has always been a responsible, durable two-way center that occasionally waded into the Selke conversation. But he’s sort of been miscast as a No. 1 and, not surprisingly, the center position has been Montreal’s area of weakness in recent campaigns.
But could the Habs afford to lose him? It’s a question worth asking.
Alex Galchenyuk, the third overall pick in 2012, was drafted with the vision of eventually becoming that top-line center, but things haven’t gone to plan.
“[Galchenyuk] is not there yet,” Bergevin explained at Montreal’s end-of-year presser. “He might never be a centerman.”
If that’s the case, what’s the solution?
Highly touted prospect Michael McCarron played center in the OHL last season, but he’s just 20 years old and has never played an AHL game, let alone an NHL one. Lars Eller looks to be a third-liner that can be pushed into the No. 2 role in a pinch, and David Desharnais lacks the size and physicality to be more than an offensive-minded No. 2/3.
For now, Plekanec’s resigned to answering questions about his future in Montreal and, hopefully, the day when his agent, Rick Curran, gets on the phone with Bergevin.
“If he’s going to pick up the phone and call my agent, we’ll see,” he explained. “For me, all I can control is my game, and I’m going to focus on that.”