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Tomas Plekanec one of 20 NHL players headed for arbitration

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After having his point totals shute from 29-40-69 in 2007-08 to 20-19-39 in 2008-09, Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec has elected to take his salary discussion to arbitration. The case of Plekanec and 19 others will be heard between July 20 and August 4.

Plekanec earned $1.8M last season, and shouldn't be expecting any type of substancial increase in salary after seeing his totals drop 30 points.

The Canadiens have not been to arbitration in recent seasons with any of their players. Michael Ryder, in three successive years, has elected the arbitration process, only to settle in each instance, before having his hearing heard. In 2007-08, Ryder and Gainey agreed on a one year contract valued at $2.95M. Ryder was coming off seasons of 25, 25, and 30 goals when he settled on that renumeration. The soon to be 27 year old Plekanec has totalled 20, 29, and 20 goals in his three full campaigns with the Canadiens.

In my take, Plekanec and the Canadiens would likely settle somewhere between $2.2M and $2.5M. Anything more than these figures, and I'd colour him goners via trade shortly after this is settled.

I'll maintain the Canadiens would have been better served by retaining long time captain Koivu as a second line centerman.

Incidentally, there are two Koivu related articles - must reads - posted at Habs Inside Out this a.m.

Other players having filled for salary arbitration include

Ryan Callahan et Nikolai Zherdev (Rangers), Travis Zajac (Devils), Milan Jurcina (Capitals), Colby Armstrong (Thrashers), Kyle Wellwood (Canucks), Matt Smaby (Lightning), Matt Hunwick (Bruins), Clarke MacArthur (Sabres), Tuomo Ruutu (Hurricanes), James Wisniewski (Ducks), Aaron Johnson (Hawks), Jiri Hudler (Red Wings), Marc Methot (Blue Jackets), Kyle Brodziak (Wild), Denis Grebeshkov (Oilers), Nate Thompson (Islanders), and Nigel Dawes and Daniel Winnik (Coyotes).

The Zajac, Zherdev, Ruutu and Hudler cases should be the most interesting. Ruutu's stats are close to Plekenec's numbers, for comparison purposes.