Plekanec on the trade block?

It smells like the end might be sooner in Montreal for number 14...

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It seems like the Montreal Canadiens are going to miss the playoffs for the second time in three years, and though general manager Marc Bergevin has publicly stated that he will not sacrifice the future of his team to make some risky moves, it seems like the imminent future might be put on the line at the trade deadline. 

In a perfect world, would I love to add a piece to help them? Of course,” Bergevin said on Saturday, as quoted by the Canadiens’ website. “But to sacrifice the future and to take major risks with the organizations’ long-term [plan], I’m not ready to do that.”

When we talk Habs and trade speculation in the same sentence, most fans expect that it will lead to captain Max Pacioretty. But, according to a well-placed source close to the organization who spoke with The Fourth Period recently, a trade is not imminent for the top forward. 

Other forwards were named as trade bait in Montreal, including Andrew Shaw and Michael McCarron, but it seems like the perfect pitch has not been made to pry them out of the Canadiens' lineup. 

However, one player who could be moved at the deadline is veteran centre Tomas Plekanec, who is in the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The 35-year-old forward does not own any no-trade protection and can be moved without any consent. In 42 games with the Habs so far this season, Plekanec has registered four goals and 12 assists for 16 points.

Some fans might be disappointed to see Plekanec go, as he is just  37 games away from 1,000 career regular-season games in the NHL and in a Canadiens uniform. However, they know he could be used on a rival team as a rental player for a playoff push. 

For now though, Bergevin is focused on the future, and it might not have Plekanec in it... 

We have some young players who are coming up and who are improving, despite our first half of the season. I see many parts of [Artturi] Lehkonen’s game which are helping the team. Charles Hudon has had some highs and lows, but he’s been showing some good things, and he’s still young. [Nikita] Scherbak, since he’s been back from his injury, I think he's headed in the right direction. 

“We have a lot of young players coming up who can make the difference for the organization. But with the parity in the League, it’s hard for me to make promises.”