It still feels weird to be writing a piece about noted Toronto Maple Leaf Tomas Plekanec, but here we are.
Plekanec’s stint in the blue and white was a brief one, having come over in a deadline deal which saw a second round pick and a couple of log-jammed prospects head the other way. Given the Leafs’ notorious struggles to find adequate depth at center beyond their top three lines, Plekanec seemed an ideal solution as the Leafs headed into the playoffs. His pedigree as a top-six centerman for years as a member of the Montreal Canadiens would seem to speak for itself.
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A lot can be said about what Tomas Plekanec has done in his career, and sure, his pedigree is merited, but these stat lines leave much to be desired.
Through 77 regular season games this season, Tomas Plekanec was hardly the player he was in days gone by. He managed just six goals all season, and the result is even more disappointing when you realize that all six of those goals came through 60 games with Montreal. His Leafs stats? 0 goals, 2 assists through 17 regular season games.
The tale of Tomas Plekanec’s time as a Toronto Maple Leaf, however, must necessarily be divided into the BKS and AKS eras. That is, Before Kadri Suspension and After Kadri Suspension. For a brief six-game stint throughout the playoffs where Plekanec was taxed with a more familiar and prominent role between Mitchell Marner and Patrick Marleau, he flourished, and played his best hockey as a member of the blue and white.
Again, assigning a grade here is difficult. Playoff Tomas Plekanec was certainly a B+ level contributor at the very least, though it’s hard not to knock him at least a little bit for his inability to make the players around him better in a more limited role, especially considering the competition he was facing.
The question “Is Tomas Plekanec Good?” is perhaps better asked as “Does Tomas Plekanec Have A Goatee?”, because by the time the playoffs rolled around and he was allowed to regrow his facial hair, it became all to clear that his cleanly-shaved face under Lou’s Rules was probably a big contributor to his lackluster performance.
Realistically, it was between this and his empty-netter to seal the deal in Game 6.
Even though Game 4 would eventually slip away from the Leafs, this early goal from Plekanec was key in helping the Leafs get even after a disastrous early start which saw them go down 1-0 just 28 seconds into the game.
This was Plekanec’s first and only goal against another goaltender as a member of the blue and white. Disappointing? Maybe a little. But considering Brian Boyle couldn’t even say that last season, it’s at least a marginal improvement on investment.
Let’s be realistic, here.
From the moment he was traded, the word was always that Plekanec would ideally return to the Montreal Canadiens come next season. It’s highly unlikely we ever see him suit up for the Leafs again, but hopefully we can all move forward with a somewhat softer spot for the longtime Hab in our hearts.