Rumblings: How much is Tomas Plekanec worth to Montreal?

Tomas Plekanec is off to a hot start with three goals in three games. Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports

He’s not Steven Stamkos or Anze Kopitar, but he is the No. 1 center for the Montreal Canadiens -- and also a pending unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Tomas Plekanec told the media at the players' tour in Toronto in early September that there had not been any contract talks with the club, but that it also didn’t stress him one bit.

His agent, veteran Rick Curran, said Monday that he recently chatted with general manager Marc Bergevin on a separate matter, but Plekanec was mentioned before the conversation ended and both agreed to talk again soon. Curran added that there is no timeline. In other words, everyone involved seems quite chill about it. July 1 is a long time away.

Plekanec, who turns 33 on Oct. 31, remains a steady performer for the Canadiens (26 goals and 60 points last season) as a two-way player who does a bit of everything. He faded in the playoffs last spring with four points (one goal, three assists) in 12 games. He’s off to a quick start with three goals in his first three games this season.

He’s earning $5 million in the last year of his deal. So, what is he worth to Montreal to keep around? He’s an aging player, although very durable, so my sense is term length will be the key discussion. If he signs, I’m guessing it’s for two or three years.

If the Alex Galchenyuk experiment at center is a success this season -- and really, the Habs have no choice but to have it be a success -- then by next season he will be the No. 1 center, one would assume.

Plekanec’s future, if he re-signs, is as a No. 2, and eventually as a No. 3 in a few seasons.

I think he loves it in Montreal and it appeals to him to play his entire career there. But the contract still has to make sense. I think the Canadiens like him at the right price. We shall see.