Tomas Plekanec retires from NHL as Canadiens decide to cut ties

Tomas Plekanec always wanted to finish his NHL career with the Canadiens, and did so Friday — albeit a bit earlier than he had anticipated. 

General manager Marc Bergevin announced Friday that Plekanec will be placed on waivers Saturday for the purpose of terminating his contract, and the veteran center said at a subsequent news conference he is retiring from the NHL. 

The 36-year-old has appeared in only three games this season after re-signing with Montreal over the summer following a trade to Toronto late last season. One of those games, Oct. 15 against the Red Wings, was the 1,000th of Plekanec’s NHL career and featured his lone goal of the season. 

Plekanec was a healthy scratch for the Habs’ first three games this season, then landed on injured reserve due to a lower back injury after playing Oct. 17 against the Blues. Before that game, the Canadiens presented Plekanec with a silver stick in recognition of his 1,000th game. 

The Canadiens selected Plekanec with the 71st overall pick in the 2001 NHL entry draft. He first donned a Montreal sweater in the 2003-04 season but became a fixture two years later.

Aside from his 17-game stint with the Maple Leafs at the end of last season and with HC Kladno in his native Czech Republic during the 2012 lockout, Plekanec has been a Canadien ever since. 

He said at a news conference Friday he may look to continue playing at Kladno, a team owned by Jaromir Jagr.