Plekanec with the Montreal Canadiens in January 2015
October 31, 1982 |
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||198 lb (90 kg; 14 st 2 lb)|
|NHL team||Montreal Canadiens|
|National team||Czech Republic|
|NHL Draft||71st overall, 2001
Tomas Plekanec (born October 31, 1982) is a Czech professional ice hockey centre currently playing for, and an alternate captain of, the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL). After beginning his career with HC Kladno of the Czech Extraliga, he was selected 71st overall by the Canadiens in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Moving to North America in 2002, he played three seasons for the Canadiens' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, before joining the NHL club full-time for the 2005–06 season.
Plekanec played junior ice hockey in his native Czech Republic with the HC Kladno organization. He debuted with club's senior team in 1998–99, appearing in three Czech Extraliga games. Two years later, he joined the senior team full-time, recording 42 points over 53 games. In the off-season, Plekanec was selected by the Montreal Canadiens 71st overall in the 3rd round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Remaining in the Czech Extraliga for a second full season, he scored 30 points over 43 games in 2001–02.
Plekanec came to North America to begin playing in the Canadiens' system in 2002–03. Assigned to the club's minor league affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League (AHL), he recorded 46 points over 77 games. Improving to 66 points with Hamilton in 2003–04, he also made his National Hockey League (NHL) debut that season, playing in two games. Due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Plekanec automatically remained in Hamilton for a third AHL season and recorded 64 points over 80 games.
In 2005–06, Plekanec became a fixture in the Canadiens' lineup, scoring 29 points in his NHL rookie season. He improved to 47 points the next season in 2006–07 and notched his first 20-goal effort. On February 29, 2008, Plekanec recorded his first NHL hat trick in a 6–2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. He completed the 2007–08 season with 29 goals and 69 points. Plekanec received a two-game suspension on February 12, 2009, for a slewfoot on Edmonton Oilers defenceman Denis Grebeshkov during a game the previous day. Grebeshkov suffered a high ankle sprain on the play. He finished with a decreased 39 points in 2008–09, but still managed to notch 20 goals.
In the summer of 2009, he re-signed with the Canadiens to a one-year contract worth $2.75 million. That season, he recorded a career-high 45 assists and 70 points. Set to become a free agent, he re-signed once more with the Canadiens on June 22, 2010, agreeing to a six-year contract worth $30 million. He scored 22 goals during the 2010-11 NHL season.
|Competitor for Czech Republic|
|World Junior Championships|
Plekanec played in three junior international tournaments with the Czech Republic. He was named to the under-18 team at the 2000 IIHF World U18 Championships, where he contributed 2 points in 6 games. He then helped the Czechs to a gold medal at the 2001 World Junior Championships with 2 points in 7 games. He made his second consecutive World Junior appearance in 2002 and improved to 7 points in 7 games.
After his first NHL season, Plekanec competed in the 2006 World Championships, where the Czech Republic captured a silver medal in Latvia. Plekanec scored the Czechs' first goal in the semi-final, helping the team defeat Finland 3–1. He went on to make his second and third consecutive World Championships appearances in 2007 and 2008. He was a member of the bronze-medal Czech team in the 2011 World Championships.
On December 31, 2009, Plekanec was named to the Czech team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He recorded 3 points in 5 games as the Czech Republic were defeated in the quarter-final by Finland. He has also competed for the Czech national inline hockey team.
Plekanec is married to Czech singer/actress Lucie Vondráčková and the couple have one son, who was born in 2011.
Regular season and playoffs
- "Hard-luck Habs lose Plekanec". Montreal Gazette. February 12, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
- "Plekanec signs six-year, $30M contract with Canadiens". The Sports Network. Retrieved July 3, 2010.
- "Hockey: Kladno face league champions Pardubice". Radio Prague. September 26, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
- "Canadiens opt for four alternate captains this season". NHL. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.