56 GP, 54 PTS (13G, 41A), +3 rating.
After a 2008 season that saw him fall to 39 points from his 2007 career high of 69, Plekanec is on pace to shatter his career numbers. With 54 points in 56 games, Plekanec is just under a point per game man. More importantly, he is showing that he can play through the extra physical attention that players get as a No. 1 center.
The knock on Plekanec in the past was that he was too small and not gritty enough to be a legit No. 1 in the league. But Pleky is changing minds in 2009. This year, he is using his 5'10" 196 pound frame to go to the high traffic zones and make space for himself.
This additional combativeness has helped as teams pay more and more physical attention to him.
Having signed a one-year deal in the offseason, Plekanec will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. While logic would dictate that Gainey should sign this guy, there is no question that exploring the trade route is also a valid option.
Plekanec's trade value has never been higher and there are sure to be teams out there looking for an upgrade at the center position, before the post season dance.
Like Price, Plekanec could end up being the center piece of a trade and could fetch a decent return by himself. However, Gainey could also package some prospects and/or picks with him, to sweeten the pot. If Plekanec is traded, however, there has better be a big, No. 1 center coming back in the deal.
Like, say, Vincent Lecavalier? :-)