The Montreal Canadiens are parting ways with Tomas Plekanec. The two parties have mutually agreed to terminate his contract and put the veteran on unconditional waivers Friday.
“With the progression of our players at centre, I owed Tomas an explanation,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said. “We met, and it was a mutual separation…Tomas will always be a part of the Canadiens family.”
Indeed, the Habs’ centre depth has created a kind of embarrassment of riches which left Plekanec out in the cold. He’s only suited up three times this season, with his latest contest coming October 17. He played in his 1,000th career game on October 15 and scored a goal against the Red Wings.
But the emergence of Jesperi Kotkaniemi and the success of Max Domi at centre has left no room at the inn for Plekanec, who’ll have his contract terminated.
Montreal has been stockpiling centres since the summer of 2017, when Jonathan Drouin came over from Tampa. Domi was added from Arizona and Kotkaniemi was a pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Still, it’s sad to see Plekanec go like this. He’s spent almost his entire career with the Canadiens, who drafted him in the third round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He spent 984 of his 1,001 career games with Montreal and spent the other handful of games with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the conclusion of 2017-2018.
“I’m happy with what I’ve done here with the Canadiens,” Plekanec said. “I can leave happy. I’m going to miss the guys. It’s another family, coming here every morning. Now, it’s gone. It’s something I’m going to miss, for sure. I’m going to watch them and cheer for them.”
Plekanec signed a one-year deal with Montreal in July of 2018 after returning from his stint with Toronto. Prior to that, the Habs inked him to a two-year deal in October of 2015 that paid him $6 million a season.
Plekanec has 233 goals and 375 assists in 1,001 regular season games. He has 53 points in 94 playoff games, including four points in seven playoff games for Toronto last year.