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The Numbers on Plekanec Will Blow your Mind!

December 22, 2009, 10:49 AM ET [ Comments]
Habs Talk
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The “Mechanec” is on fire!

Not even going to talk about last night’s game…

But Tomas Plekanec…how is this possible?

I can’t explain how devastated he was throughout, and after last season. I can’t even put it into words. His words suggested he was completely beaten, mentally. He was so down on himself you’d think he was considering quitting the game. He was set to go to arbitration, and signed days before—likely cause he couldn’t believe how generous the 2.75 million-dollar offer was from Bob Gainey. And he earned that offer solely based on the previous year, in which he achieved career-highs with 29 goals, and 69 points.

But this year…WOW…really…WOW! Find me a better story in the NHL…

Plekanec goes from a 30-point drop-off season (39pts) to having 40 points in 38 games this season. He’s tied for 6th in NHL scoring. He’s tied for 2nd in assists with 33 (with Marty St-Louis) ahead of Nick Backstrom (Ovechkin’s centreman) by 5 assists, and behind Joe Thornton by 7.

Joe Thornton plays with Patrick Marleau, and Dany Heatley.

Marty St. Louis plays with Steven Stamkos.

Granted Plekanec has mostly played with Andrei Kostitsyn (who’s on fire with 17pts in his last 15 games) and Mike Cammalleri (18g and 14 assists) of late, but he spent the first half of the season with a revolving door on his wing, and the Andrei Kostitsyn that only scored a measly 5pts in his first 20 games.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

-Tomas Plekanec has more points than he’s played games, yet he’s been blanked off the scoresheet in 15 of the 38 games the Canadiens have played.

-4 pts in a game—1 time (last night)

-3 pts in a game—2 times

-2 pts in a game—10 times

-1 pt in a game—10 times

Let’s get away from the offensive numbers for a minute, because they don’t tell the full story of how valuable he is to the Montreal Canadiens.

-He’s played every game. Not just a 1-season thing…two seasons before he made it to the NHL, he played 74, and 80 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs, respectively. His first year in the NHL, he got into his first game after the Canadiens had already played 15, after which he played 67. Since then, 81, 81, and 80. Durable? He might as well be the Energizer Bunny.

-He’s the top-used penalty-killer at the forward position for the Montreal Canadiens. Out of the forwards in the NHL, Todd Marchant, Jay McClement, and Vernon Fiddler are the only ones who average more penalty-killing minutes/game than he does. To give you an idea of how crazy this statistic is; there isn’t a single player that’s ahead of him in the scoring race, that ranks in the top 200 in penalty killing minutes. Granted the Canadiens take more penalties than 28 other teams in the league…but still, it shows you how rare it is to have a top-scorer play a lead penalty-killing role. Oh…and thanks to that, the Canadiens rank 7th in the league in penalty killing.

-He has taken the second most faceoffs in the NHL (795) and has won 48.3% of them.

-He’s +6.

The entire Montreal fanbase is throwing rocks at Gainey’s window to have him pick up the phone and talk deal with agent Rick Curran.

Don’t worry…Bob won’t let Plekanec hit the market, whether he gets him inked in January, or in June. I know…you’re still worried, but put it aside…Plekanec will be a Canadien for years to come. And from the looks of it, he might just be the best one they’ve had in well over a decade—going back to Pierre Turgeon who scored 96 pts in 80 games with the Habs, in 1995-96.
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