Plekanec is a candidate to be selected by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft after the Habs left him exposed Saturday, The New York Times reports.
One of the most notable players left unprotected, Plekanec saw a steep decline in offensive production this past season. He went from 54 points in the prior year, all the way down to 28 combined goals and assists in his 13th go-around with Montreal. What was the reason for the free fall, you ask? Some of it can be attributed to his shuffling all around the lineup, but Plekanec also started just 35.6 percent of his 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone, making it difficult for him to get scoring opportunities. He's an alternate captain for the Canadiens, but the club would probably love to shed his $6 million cap hit.
Plekanec will join the Czech Republic for the 2017 IIHF World Championship, Zdenek Matejovsky of Czech TV Nova reports.
Not only will Plekanec suit up for his country, he is expected to serve as the captain. The 34-year-old started the postseason off strong with three points in the opening three outings, but was held off the scoresheet for Games 4, 5, and 6. The center experienced a significant drop in production this past year as he managed just 28 points -- the lowest total of his career.
Plekanec scored with 18 seconds remaining in regulation to send Game 2 against the Rangers into overtime Friday. Montreal won in the extra frame to tie the series 1-1.
Plekanec also collected an assist in the contest, so it was a big game for the Montreal veteran. After posting just 10 goals and 28 points in the regular season, the Habs could use an offensive boost from Plekanec. He's likely still best viewed as a risky fantasy option at this point, though.
Plekanec took his normal place as Montreal's second center during practice Tuesday, indicating that he'll be in the lineup for Game 1 against the Rangers on Wednesday after sitting out the final game of the regular season for an undisclosed reason.
The Czech pivot endured the least productive season of his 13-year NHL career in 2016-17, tallying just 10 goals and 28 points in 70 contests. Though he shouldn't be a bona fide fantasy play by any means, Plekanec's wealth of experience could prove to be valuable for the Habs in the postseason.
Plekanec (undisclosed) will sit out for Saturday's game against the Red Wings, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.
While not yet confirmed, there's reason to believe that the pivot is getting rest like many of his star teammates, including fantasy gem Max Pacioretty.