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Tomas Plekanec is one of those players whose name doesn’t stand out on a scorecard very often. He’s rarely seen on SportsCenter. And he’s never talked about as being one of the best centers in the league.
But if you were to ask Michel Therrien who his most valuable forward is on a nightly basis, there’s a good chance he responds with Tomas Plekanec.
The veteran center from the Czech Republic is Montreal’s jack-of-all-trades. He plays against the opposition’s top line, kills penalties, gets power-play time, wins faceoffs and scores goals.
Despite being asked to do so much more than just score, Plekanec is tied for second amongst Canadiens forwards with seven goals. He also has eight assists for 15 points in 24 games. He has a 49.9 percent faceoff win percentage, a very respectable number considering he often squares up against the league’s best.
He also leads all Montreal forwards in time on ice per game (18:40) and shorthanded time on ice (2:36).
His value to the Canadiens was obvious November 23 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Plekanec was asked to line up against Sidney Crosby all evening and completely shut him down.
Crosby was not only held pointless by Plekanec, but the latter also dominated him in the faceoff circle, taking 14 of 19 draws on the evening. He even managed to score Montreal’s second goal of the game—while Crosby was on the ice.
Plekanec is asked to do it all for Montreal night in and night out, and he usually delivers. He’s certainly been on top of his game this season, and for that reason, his stock is trending up.