The 25-year-old from Komsomolsk-on-Amur was largely suspected to be used as bait for the Penguins, who were shopping around for more forward depth. And Plotnikov’s agent said that the team was trying to trade his client, so this certainly confirms that.
In 32 games with the Penguins this season, he posted two assists. Prior to that, the undrafted player skated with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL. In 2014-2015, he posted 36 points in 56 games.
But on the Penguins, things just didn’t pan out.
He was a healthy scratch for 19 consecutive games and wasn’t exactly a team player, if general manager Jim Rutherford’s comments were any indication.
“In Plotnikov’s case, he started off a little bit feeling his way and then I thought he had a pretty good run for about five weeks,” Rutherford told 93.7 The Fan. “But there came a point in time where he suggested he wanted to go back to Russia. That didn’t go over too well with the coach because he wants people here that are all in, they want to be here at all costs. That hurt him a little bit with the coach.”
Regardless, the Plotnikov era is over in Pittsburgh and he’s a Coyote now.
He has a one-year deal with a base salary of $925,000 and there are some performance bonuses attached to it, but it doesn’t look like he’s coming anywhere near close to earning those requirements.
Plotnikov is a quality player on the cycle and he’s big at 6’2, 205 pounds. He can maintain possession, but he’s not the most responsible player in the offensive zone and can take dumb penalties.