Veteran Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec has been traded to the Maple Leafs. Plekanec is excited to join a playoff bound team but it will be an adjustment for him after spending so many years in Montreal and having to move his family. Plekanec, who has spent his entire NHL career with the Canadiens since they selected him in the third round (#71) of the 2001 NHL Draft, and forward Kyle Baun were traded for forward Kerby Rychel, defenseman Rinat Valiev and a second-round pick in the 2018 draft on Sunday. Rumours have been circulating for ahile that Plekanec could be traded before the deadline and just shy of playing nearly 1000 games for the Habs. He said “It was out of my hands. It’s obviously a little bit special but these days those things happen, it’s a business. I’m very excited to join the Maple Leafs, it’s a great organization, a really big fan base. The team is playing really well this year, and I’m really excited and looking forward to the playoffs with this team.” 35 year old Plekanec goal productivity has slipped in the past 3 years and currently has six goals and 18 assists in 60 games this season but he is still a good player and gives the young Buds some experience. Plekanec was asked to sit out last night and the Habs lost 4-3 shootout loss against Tampa Bay Lightning. Plekanec has 605 points (232 goals, 373 assists) in 981 regular-season games (7th in Habs history) during 14 NHL seasons, seven 20 plus goal seasons and 49 points (16 goals, 33 assists) in 87 playoff games. “It’s been 15 years in the organization, even more,” Plekanec said. “It’s my home now, I have two kids now who basically speak French, they go to French schools. I can’t say enough good things about the Montreal Canadiens organization, about the city of Montreal and as a family. We loved it. There’s so many memories, right now it’s kind of too hectic to go through all of them.” Canadiens CEO, President and Co-Owner Geoff Molson said “Merci, thank you Pleky for everything you gave to this organization. You are a true pro and a gentleman. Bonne chance! #GHG” Habs Coach Claude Julien said “He’s the ultimate pro. He comes to the rink and he’s there early, he prepares, he practices hard and he’s focused. You know, he’s a quiet guy who’s got a good personality, he gets along with everybody, is well respected.”Plekanec left Montreal this morning for Toronto for a medical evaluation before joining the Leafs, who play the Lightning at Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday night. He said he probably expects to be in the lineup and that he will likely wear Number 19 and not 14 because it was retired in honour of Dave Keon on October 15, 2016.
Photo below from CanadienMTL/Twitter
Photo below Defenseman Rinat Valiev and forward Kerby Rychel formerly of the Toronto Marlies via NHL.com/Canadiens