Where Would Montreal Canadiens Forward Tomas Plekanec Land?

It’s not just the heart of the postseason, but the rumor season as well, with Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec allegedly on his way out of town along with a first-round pick.


Translation: If Plekanec has already been traded like you claim, the Canadiens’ first-round pick has potentially been dealt as well


Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec
Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec – (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

Now, to be clear, this is purely a rumor appearing on the Dans Les Coulisses Twitter account and there is no guarantee it is at all true. However, in the spirit of biding our time until the offseason starts, why not simply consider which teams would be on the receiving end of one of Montreal’s biggest bargaining chips (if he even is being traded).

Taking into account teams currently in need of a second/third-line center with salary-cap space to burn (the Chicago Blackhawks, for example, would not be crazy enough to trade for Plekanec without a lot more salary heading back the other way), here are the top five trade destinations for the Habs forward (and that supposed first-round pick) in increasing order of realism:


5) Anaheim Ducks

While the Anaheim Ducks did indeed fortify their center position last summer by acquiring Ryan Kesler, maybe just maybe they can’t get enough of a good thing. Besides, there’s a bit of a drop-off from Getzlaf and Kesler to other centers Andrew Cogliano, Nate Thompson, and Richard Rakell.


What would Montreal want in exchange:

-Patrick Maroon (Michel Therrien can never have enough bottom-sixers) and

-Jakob Silfverberg (Marc Bergevin loves players that get teams through playoffs)


4) New York Rangers

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider and Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price
New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider and Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price – (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

It kind of all depends on how these playoffs shake out for the New York Rangers, which is probably admittedly why they aren’t the hypothetical team to which Plekanec will be dealt.

Still, with Martin St. Louis coming off the books and unlikely to be re-signed for nearly as much as his current $5.625-million cap hit, the Rangers might have the space for a third-line center of Plekanec’s caliber.

Sure, they have Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard already, but Plekanec would be an upgrade over Dominic Moore and J.T. Miller. If the Rangers fall short this postseason, they might want to get stronger down the middle much like a certain other still-alive Western Conference team did last summer in order to push themselves over the hump.


What would Montreal want in exchange:

-Ryan McDonagh *a pause for laughter to die down* or

-Chris Kreider (as a preventative measure)


3) Buffalo Sabres

Now that they’ve secured that top-two pick and have fired their scapegoat head coach, the Buffalo Sabres are finally ready to start winning. Somebody had better let their less-than-stellar roster in on the secret, though.

Admittedly, the Sabres have got their fair share of centers. However Tyler Ennis, Cody Hodgson, and Zemgus Girgensons can all play different forward positions. After the Sabres went out and got a good chunk of Montreal’s leadership core last season (Brian Gionta, Josh Gorges), it stands to reason that Plekanec might fit right in.


What would Montreal want in exchange:

-The second-overall pick to take franchise center Jack Eichel (not going to happen) or

-Sam Reinhart (to make room for Eichel at center… and Plekanec obviously)


2) Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl
Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl – (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

The misconception is that the Edmonton Oilers are strong down the middle, but the truth of the matter is, even if they were to draft center Connor McDavid (okay, when they draft him), they’ll technically still “only” have Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Boyd Gordon, and Anton Lander.

Derek Roy is an unrestricted free agent and if re-signed won’t ever be the top-six forward he once was. Meanwhile, as was proven this past year, Leon Draisaitl may not be a permanent fixture on this team for some time.

For a young group that won’t make the playoffs for a while, Plekanec might just provide the necessary infusion of experience and defensive awareness to help take his potential new teammates to that next level (but not necessarily beyond, based on his playoffs).


What would Montreal want in exchange:

-Nail Yakupov (to play with Alex Galchenyuk, if he ever becomes a center) or

-Leon Draisaitl (if Alex Galchenyuk never becomes a center)

1) Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly
Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly – (Icon SMI)

The Avalanche are theoretically set at center for the next decade. They’ve got franchise center Matt Duchene, franchise center Nathan MacKinnon, and, well, Ryan O’Reilly who makes more than both of them combined…

That’s obviously not true, but it was just a few short years ago (ignoring performance bonuses), after O’Reilly signed his “bridge” contract that paid him $6.5 million in 2013-14.

The thing is, as outrageous of a deal it seemed at the time, O’Reilly kinda lived up to it. He has developed into a younger, more dangerous (offensively speaking, he doesn’t take too many penalties) North American version of Plekanec. And both will be unrestricted free agents at the end of next summer.

It might just be a match made in heaven (or a dream)… assuming O’Reilly re-signs after being traded. Otherwise losing that first-round pick would kinda, what’s the word? Suck. Or Blow. One of those. Big time.


What would Montreal want in exchange:

-Jarome Iginla (ignoring his NTC, he’s the winger Montreal has needed all year… five years ago) or

-Ryan O’Reilly (it wouldn’t be a completely lateral move; that implies the same age… and pay)