Since the Montreal Canadiens drafted Alex Galchenyuk third overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, certain fans have been hoping for the team to get rid of centers to make room for Galchenyuk at his natural position.
To this I say, be patient Habs fans, because for one Plekanec is not going to be traded, and secondly, trading their best two way forward makes little sense right now.
Plekanec had a solid season, leading the forwards in shorthanded ice time, finishing second in goals with 20, and coming in fourth on the team in points with 43. All this while playing the toughest competition of anyone on the Habs roster. There is little doubt he is the Habs best defensive forward.
If Plekanec were to be traded, that would leave Desharnais, Galchenyuk and Lars Eller as their top three centers. Eller would be the only one capable of playing any shorthanded minutes, but would not be able to fill the role the same way that the veteran from the Czech Republic does.
Also, if Galchenyuk were to be moved to the middle, the Canadiens extremely weak group of wingers would be reduced even further. Sure, Plekanec could be moved for a winger, but unless that player is as good as Galchenyuk, the Habs just made themselves worse on left wing. That leaves Galcheyuk to center a line with whoever is acquired for Plekanec, and likely Daniel Briere or Rene Bourque.
The player acquired for Plekanec is surely not going to be a 30 goal scorer, or even a proven 25 goal scorer unless the Habs add a good young player to the deal. That leaves Galchenyuk playing a position he has not played at the NHL level, and doing so on a fairly weak line.
If you ask me, he would be better off playing the wing on a line with a sound two way veteran like Tomas Plekanec.
Also making a Plekanec trade less likely is the saturated trade market of available centers right now. Not very often are any players as good as Jason Spezza, Ryan Kesler or Joe Thornton available, but it appears all three will likely be dealt this offseason. This leaves Plekanec fourth on the wish list of any team who needs a top center.
This means if a team like the Anaheim Ducks, Toronto Maple Leafs or St Louis Blues put together an impressive package to help their team up the middle, they will offer it to the San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks before they call the Canadiens.
This greatly lowers the market for Plekanec, meaning the Habs would have to add to get a legit top six winger in return. If they want to move Plekanec for a pick and a decent prospect, that type of offer would be available at the draft, but would make the team worse next season, and leaves Galchenyuk playing with Briere and Brandon Prust, which leaves the Habs scrambling to sign offensive wingers in free agency.
Plekanec currently has two years remaining on a contract that will have him cost 5 million against the cap each season. A year from now, when there is not so many other great centers on the market, and Galchenyuk and Eller have had another season to mature, Plekanec may be a prime trade candidate.
For now, Plekanec will remain with the Montreal Canadiens and that is the best thing for the team next season.