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08-29-2013, 08:00 AM
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Ceux de Montreal
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The hesitant role of Tomas Plekanec

As we're heading to training camp, I can't help but wonder what role Plekanec will be given this year and which responsabilities will he assumes in the lineup this year. He have developped into a solid two-way player, borderline not-quite 1st line center.

He used to play against toughest competitions, in order to shutdown best opponents offensive players while providing a bit of offence. In order to do this he have to play with similar players, guys like Gionta, Bourque... who can also backcheck and play a solid defensive sound game.

Every team needs a center like him to take faceoff, face the other team best line, play on the PK, etc. But is it really Plekanec's job for next year? It sure can't be Desharnais (too small, not good enough in his own zone) or Galchenyuk (we don't want him to develop into that). Prust is more likely to play wing. So it leaves Eller which does have a similar skillset, while being bigger.

Reason I ask myself this is because Plekanec can be our most dangerous pivot. He's the natural choice to play with Brière, Pacioretty.. Because Brière can't really play on the same line of Plekanec if we ask him to play against the other team best line.

If we want to have a at least one trio oriented to attack maybe we should give Plekanec duties to someone else, like Eller, and let him concentrate on offence a bit more. Then I wouldnt be reluncant so much to have this lineup:

Pacioretty - Plekanec - Brière (offensive line)
Gallagher - Galchenyuk - Bourque (aggressive forechecking lin)
Gionta - Eller - Prust (shutdown line, can also provide offence)
Moen - Desharnais - White (checking line, Desharnais getting PP time)

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08-29-2013, 08:05 AM
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FlyingKostitsyn
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Plekanec, imho, is pretty much the only center on this team that we clearly know what we can get from, and were he will play (1st line C that plays against other first lines).

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08-29-2013, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyingKostitsyn View Post
Plekanec, imho, is pretty much the only center on this team that we clearly know what we can get from, and were he will play (1st line C that plays against other first lines).
Yup. Also, it takes a smart and prepared player to handle those responsibilities for over half a decade and miss only about 10 regular season games total over that time. Plekanec defines reliability on this team, and has for a long time.

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08-29-2013, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Ceux de Montreal View Post
As we're heading to training camp, I can't help but wonder what role Plekanec will be given this year and which responsabilities will he assumes in the lineup this year. He have developped into a solid two-way player, borderline not-quite 1st line center.

He used to play against toughest competitions, in order to shutdown best opponents offensive players while providing a bit of offence. In order to do this he have to play with similar players, guys like Gionta, Bourque... who can also backcheck and play a solid defensive sound game.

Every team needs a center like him to take faceoff, face the other team best line, play on the PK, etc. But is it really Plekanec's job for next year? It sure can't be Desharnais (too small, not good enough in his own zone) or Galchenyuk (we don't want him to develop into that). Prust is more likely to play wing. So it leaves Eller which does have a similar skillset, while being bigger.

Reason I ask myself this is because Plekanec can be our most dangerous pivot. He's the natural choice to play with Brière, Pacioretty.. Because Brière can't really play on the same line of Plekanec if we ask him to play against the other team best line.

If we want to have a at least one trio oriented to attack maybe we should give Plekanec duties to someone else, like Eller, and let him concentrate on offence a bit more. Then I wouldnt be reluncant so much to have this lineup:

Pacioretty - Plekanec - Brière (offensive line)
Gallagher - Galchenyuk - Bourque (aggressive forechecking lin)
Gionta - Eller - Prust (shutdown line, can also provide offence)
Moen - Desharnais - White (checking line, Desharnais getting PP time)

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08-29-2013, 09:06 AM
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I think Desharnais will do well in a checking role, his strength really is forechecking and hitting. I'm expecting him to lead the forwards in hits next season.

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08-29-2013, 09:24 AM
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Why would Plekanec be given less of a defensive role when he's clearly the best at it on the team (and one of the best in the league, IMO - very underrated)? If you want to give more offensive minutes to someone, give them to Eller and keep Plekanec in the exact same role he's played in the past.

Besides, too much is made of line combinations and roles and quality of minutes. With experimentation, injuries and all, the lineup will be on constant flux and changing virtually game to game.

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08-29-2013, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fozz View Post
Besides, too much is made of line combinations and roles and quality of minutes. With experimentation, injuries and all, the lineup will be on constant flux and changing virtually game to game.
This team on paper looks like one of the best candidates in recent memory to be in constant flux-and-juggle mode. Teams get there anyway most times, sometimes to our dismay, but this particular roster looks tailor-made for it.

Plekanec's role seems to be one of the most predictable ones of the bunch, however.

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08-29-2013, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Fozz View Post
Why would Plekanec be given less of a defensive role when he's clearly the best at it on the team (and one of the best in the league, IMO - very underrated)? If you want to give more offensive minutes to someone, give them to Eller and keep Plekanec in the exact same role he's played in the past.

Besides, too much is made of line combinations and roles and quality of minutes. With experimentation, injuries and all, the lineup will be on constant flux and changing virtually game to game.
Well some feel Plekanec is our best offensive center as well. So giving him more offensive minutes can benefit the team more. Just like how Vancouver got Malhotra a few years back to allow Kesler to focus more on offence.

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08-29-2013, 09:40 AM
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I would like to see Eller and Plekanec balance matchups a little more, since yes, it's good for the team that Plekanec not spend all his energy in his own zone, but it's a serious question how to balance that and expect Eller to continue to improve offensively, while also giving minutes to soft matchup players like Briere and Desharnais.

I'm curious to see Briere in Gionta's position, it sounds like a bad idea on paper because Briere has been brutal defensively, but people said the same about Ryder last year and he was effective at times playing with Plekanec. Stick a big possession driver on the other side (basically, Pacioretty), and maybe it will be possible that Briere adjusts.

Hypothetically, while Gionta is out:

Pacioretty-Plekanec-Briere - First line
Bourque-Desharnais-Gallagher - Exploitation line (Possibly switch Briere and Gallagher)
Galchenyuk-Eller-Prust - Second/Third/Two-Way Line
Moen-Dumont-White

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08-29-2013, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Sorinth View Post
Well some feel Plekanec is our best offensive center as well. So giving him more offensive minutes can benefit the team more. Just like how Vancouver got Malhotra a few years back to allow Kesler to focus more on offence.
Is the difference between Plekanec and Desharnais greater in the offensive or defensive aspects of the game? Seems obvious to me that Desharnais can be almost as effective as Plekanec in an offensive role but not the opposite.

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08-29-2013, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorinth View Post
Well some feel Plekanec is our best offensive center as well. So giving him more offensive minutes can benefit the team more. Just like how Vancouver got Malhotra a few years back to allow Kesler to focus more on offence.

Very good comparaison. Havent thought of it but it exemplifie perfectly my thoughts on the Plekanec case.

I think Eller can serve the same purpose as Malhotra

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08-29-2013, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Fozz View Post
Is the difference between Plekanec and Desharnais greater in the offensive or defensive aspects of the game? Seems obvious to me that Desharnais can be almost as effective as Plekanec in an offensive role but not the opposite.
Let's put it this way :

Plekanec is better defensively than offensively.

He's also arguably better than DD offensively (there are some things that DD do better, but Plekanec's offensive game is a bit more complete - faster and can shoot).

This said, DD had a terrible season and still ended up with decent point totals, despite not earning points in situations where he really helped the team score (faceoffs on PP, screening). But all in all, his whole game was flawed, and his game is already flawed to begin with.

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08-29-2013, 09:45 AM
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The day Tomas Plekanec becomes our 3rd line center, we'll be Stanley cup contenders.

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08-29-2013, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Maxpac View Post
The day Tomas Plekanec becomes our 3rd line center, we'll be Stanley cup contenders.
I sortof agree with this. Pricetag is high for 3rd center, but yeah. That COULD happen as soon as 2014-15.

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08-29-2013, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fozz View Post
Is the difference between Plekanec and Desharnais greater in the offensive or defensive aspects of the game? Seems obvious to me that Desharnais can be almost as effective as Plekanec in an offensive role but not the opposite.
It's difference in offence between Plekanec and Desharnais vs the difference in defence between Plekanec and Eller. Since Eller and possibly even the 4th line (If Parros is not playing) will take the defensive responsibilities.

Personally I don't think Desharnais is all that close to Plekanec in terms of offence. Desharnais seems to be a 50-60pt center when given the biggest offensive role on the team. Plekanec was getting 70pts with that type of role.

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08-29-2013, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Maxpac View Post
The day Tomas Plekanec becomes our 3rd line center, we'll be Stanley cup contenders.
Sure, because if you have 2 centers better than Plekanec, you have an absurdly deep forward corp. 3 of the 30 best centers in the league on one team?

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08-29-2013, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Fozz View Post
Is the difference between Plekanec and Desharnais greater in the offensive or defensive aspects of the game? Seems obvious to me that Desharnais can be almost as effective as Plekanec in an offensive role but not the opposite.
Pleks can be just as effective if not more so in the offensive zone playing with inferior linemates and playing against tougher competition. That context is too important to ignore.

Switch their usage around and see how many points they get.

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08-29-2013, 10:07 AM
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Pleks can be just as effective if not more so in the offensive zone playing with inferior linemates and playing against tougher competition. That context is too important to ignore.

Switch their usage around and see how many points they get.
Well, I think it's telling he only broke 70 points in a more favorable offensive role. But 55-60 points playing in a tough role is more valuable to us than potentially 70 points in a less difficult role, since it opens up room for the legions of players we have who need soft minutes.

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08-29-2013, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Let's put it this way :

Plekanec is better defensively than offensively.

He's also arguably better than DD offensively (there are some things that DD do better, but Plekanec's offensive game is a bit more complete - faster and can shoot).

This said, DD had a terrible season and still ended up with decent point totals, despite not earning points in situations where he really helped the team score (faceoffs on PP, screening). But all in all, his whole game was flawed, and his game is already flawed to begin with.
DD really didn't have that 'bad' of a season, really. His production on even strength stayed about the same as it was the year prior. The big difference is that he didn't produce a godly amount like he did the year before. If a betting man were to put money down on what he would produce on 5v4 for the rest of his career, I doubt it would be on the 'produces like a PP demon' scenario.

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08-29-2013, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by overlords View Post
DD really didn't have that 'bad' of a season, really. His production on even strength stayed about the same as it was the year prior. The big difference is that he didn't produce a godly amount like he did the year before. If a betting man were to put money down on what he would produce on 5v4 for the rest of his career, I doubt it would be on the 'produces like a PP demon' scenario.
... "Bad" referred to how he passed my eyeball test. Not much to do with production.

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08-29-2013, 10:09 AM
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Well, I think it's telling he only broke 70 points in a more favorable offensive role. But 55-60 points playing in a tough role is more valuable to us than potentially 70 points in a less difficult role, since it opens up room for the legions of players we have who need soft minutes.
Was his 08-09 role more favorable? My memory is pretty **** sometimes.

I would have figured that gomez was getting the prime offensive minutes, and pleks' was being counted on to shutdown other people's top lines. Might have been the opposite.


Glen metropolit had 29 points that year. What. The. ****.

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08-29-2013, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by overlords View Post
DD really didn't have that 'bad' of a season, really. His production on even strength stayed about the same as it was the year prior. The big difference is that he didn't produce a godly amount like he did the year before. If a betting man were to put money down on what he would produce on 5v4 for the rest of his career, I doubt it would be on the 'produces like a PP demon' scenario.
Oh, and I forgot -- Therrien tweaked things on the PP, and let's just say that DD was miscast there. Not that Therrien strategy was wrong -- it was actually good. But DD wasn't in the right spot for him.

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08-29-2013, 10:18 AM
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Was his 08-09 role more favorable? My memory is pretty **** sometimes.

I would have figured that gomez was getting the prime offensive minutes, and pleks' was being counted on to shutdown other people's top lines. Might have been the opposite.


Glen metropolit had 29 points that year. What. The. ****.
I take it you mean 09-10? 08-09 was the "little girl" season (though the numbers for it make it look like he wasn't nearly as bad as everyone thought, which the stat haters would love to feast on)

That was just a guess, but looking at the chart now (http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php), as I thought, Gomez and Plekanec had a more balanced split...Gomez actually had a slightly higher quality of competition, but Plek still got those difficult defensive zone faceoffs. So yeah, he has reached 70 points without it being handed to him, but that year there was definitely a more balanced split both in the quality of his linemates and in not having to always play against 1st lines.

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08-29-2013, 10:19 AM
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Plekanec will still be the go-to-guy this season when it comes to play most even strength minutes, powerplay minutes, penalty-kill minutes and toughest opposition.

With Galchenyuk and Eller rising in the depth chart, Plekanec's role should decrease and focus mostly on toughest opposition and penalty kill minutes.

Seriously, he's one of the most reliable player in the league.

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08-29-2013, 10:20 AM
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I take it you mean 09-10? 08-09 was the "little girl" season (though the numbers for it make it look like he wasn't nearly as bad as everyone thought, which the stat haters would love to feast on)

That was just a guess, but looking at the chart now (http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php), as I thought, Gomez and Plekanec had a more balanced split...Gomez actually had a slightly higher quality of competition, but Plek still got those difficult defensive zone faceoffs. So yeah, he has reached 70 points without it being handed to him, but that year there was definitely a more balanced split both in the quality of his linemates and in not having to always play against 1st lines.
See, I can't remember season dates. Just awful.

Yeah, so he can definitely produce at a high level with decent linemates playing decently tough minutes. I wonder if maybe that's the plan this year, giving a pretty even split to Pleks/Eller

Treating Pleks/Eller as a true 1-2 punch would do a good job in seeing what we really have in Lars.

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