I know he's versatile.
But if Plekanec ends up being the 3rd line center, that would mean one of three things.
+ Either he really regressed
+ Either two of Galchenyuk, Desharnais or Eller really improved on their actual play
+ A combination of the above.
Forget DD for a moment -- moot point, won't get a raise anytime soon.
If Gally and Eller pass Plekanec on the depth chart, they'll be asking for... good money. And if Plekanec's play drop, he'll have to accept a drop OR he'll be overpaid, depending on when the drop occurs.
Plekanec has many qualities. It's just that 5M for a 3rd center doesn't make sense in a 60-something M cap world.
Galchenyuk already has similar cap hit to Desharnais. Eller needs a new contract after 13/14. There's little chance he'll be given enough offensive minutes to give him a contract higher than DD. Unless we're talking about something unrealistic - Galchenyuk becoming 80+ point player before his ELC finishes + Eller putting up 60-70 points next season without PP time on the 3rd line, there's little chance either will make more than DD let alone Plekanec.
5M for a 3rd C is fine if he's as versatile as Plekanec. We can literally put 2 cheap rookies on his line and it'd still be sound on D. He's already been playing with Bourque/Gionta/Moen/Darche and facing #1 offensive lines. If Eller/Galchenyuk improve he'd be playing with say Kristo/Prust against 2nd lines. ~9M for a 3rd line. Our current 3rd line of Galchenyuk-Eller-Bourque = ~8M.
The key is versatility and needing low maintenance to be effective. If Plekanec was PP specialist that doesn't kill penalties/play good D, then his 5M cap hit is an issue and a waste on the 3rd line if Eller/Galchenyuk/DD pass him in the depth chart.
Originally Posted by MXD
Eller was much more advanced when drafted AND when coming to North America than Plekanec was.
If Plekanec was 6'2'' he would have easily been top 60 pick instead of a high 3rd round pick. He was already putting up decent points in the Czech 1st tier men's league in his draft year while Eller was still in the junior leagues in Sweden. Eller didn't even make it as a full time player in the 1st tier Swedish league until 1 year after he was drafted. If anything, Plekanec was much more advanced in terms of facing men when he made the NHL after playing 3 full seasons in the AHL including a tougher lockout AHL season. Eller only had 1 SEL season, 1 AHL season, and a half/half/half year between Swedish junior/1st tier/2nd tier .