If you’ve only been looking at the score sheet, you probably think Tomas Plekanec is having a good year.
After all, he’s got six goals and five assists in 12 games. Pretty good, right?
Wrong. Despite all his points, he’s not having that great a year.
Too many times, he has cost the Habs wins. By my count, there’s been at least two games this year where the Habs lost as a direct result of Pleks, and one where they almost blew it.
Now, before I go any further, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m not the biggest fan of Pleks. I think he’s overpaid, and people love him more than he deserves. But I want to get my bias out of the way first.
So now, let’s look at his games this year.
In the first game of the season, Pleks took a silly penalty against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bearing down on Leafs goalie Ben Scrivens, Pleks gave Scrivens a snow shower. This started being a penalty a year or so ago. I’ve seen it called numerous times. It was a stupid move by Pleks. Tyler Bozak scored what would be the game winning goal on the powerplay.
Last night, Pleks took a tripping penalty in the last two minutes of a 3-2 game against Tampa. The Lightning scored, and the Habs were lucky to win in a shootout.
Against Ottawa last week, he had a penalty 24 seconds into the game for goalie interference. The Sens scored, but the Habs won the game.
Against the Leafs on Saturday, he got a holding penalty in the third period. The Leafs scored on that one.
He’s taken four minor penalties this year, and the opposition has scored on every one of them.
Last week against the Boston Bruins, the Habs were leading 1-0 going into the third period. Pleks lost the first faceoff, and 14 seconds later, the puck is behind Carey Price when Tyler Seguin scored. And Pleks was with Seguin until Seguin went to the front of the net, and Pleks left to go to the corner. Seguin was Plekanec’s guy in that case, but he let him go.
A little bit later, Pleks lost a faceoff, and 21 seconds later, the puck is in our net. The guy who scored (David Krejci) is the guy who Pleks was trying to backcheck against and couldn’t catch up.
Plekanec won 2 of 9 faceoffs in third period, when we needed those wins the most. Earlier in the game, he had an absolute whiff on a breakaway. All in all, a horrible night
His faceoff percentage this year is 46.5 per cent. Last night, he won 12 of 26 faceoffs. He won five of 21 faceoffs in a game against the Devils, and only four of 19 against the Leafs.
He’s our top faceoff guy, but can’t win even half of them.
So far this year, Pleks has only two hits, three blocked shots, and is a -3 so far. Before last night’s game, his shooting percentage was 17.6 percent. He has not been above 11.6 per cent in five years, so he’s due for a regression soon. When his points start coming down, these errors of his will seem even more costly.
He’s a streaky player. His season point totals for the last five seasons look like this: 69, 39, 70, 57, 52. Last year, he started off the season with 20 points in 20 games. He then got 32 in the last 62 games.
He’s a horrible shootout guy. He’s 4-for-22 (18 per cent) on shootout attempts in his career.
He has a no-trade clause, so we probably couldn’t deal him if we wanted to.
He doesn’t make the guys around him better. How many times has someone said “You know, player X is struggling. We should put him on a line with Plekanec. That’ll snap him out of it.” I’m guessing that answer is zero.
And the most important stat: He’s owed another $15 million over the next three season after this one.
I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the love for this guy. He’s great at penalty killing, and he’s great at um…. er….. penalty killing? What else does he do well? I just don’t get it.
Someone please explain it to me.