Montreal Canadiens ink Tomas Plekanec to a one year deal. Trade bait?

Kevin van SteendelaarAnalyst IJuly 21, 2009

RALEIGH, NC - DECEMBER 16:  Tomas Plekanec #14 of the Montreal Canadiens skates with the puck during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 16, 2008 at RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Montreal Canadiens avoided their lone salary arbitration case today, signing center Tomas Plekanec to a one-year deal.

The Canadiens’ official release can be found here.

Terms, as per the team policy, were undisclosed, but are estimated around $2.75 million. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2009-10 season.

The 26-year-old came off his third straight 20+ goal season.

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His 39 points, however, were his worst point total in those three years.

With the signing, many are speculating that the signing is part of a trade deal with the San Jose Sharks for center Patrick Marleau.

It’s a trade rumor that has been passed around more that a copy of Led Zeppelin IV for three off-seasons now.

With Marleau an unrestricted free agent himself next season, it’s unlikely that Habs’ GM Bob Gainey will want to overload his team with too many UFAs seeking high dollars for a second year.

Now, if Gainey sweetened the pot enough to get Joe Thornton…..hmmmmmmm