Penguins might be looking to deal Sergei Plotnikov before trade deadline
February 27, 2016 12:05 AM
Penguins left winger Sergei Plotnikov has been a healthy scratch for 19 consecutive games.
By Seth Rorabaugh / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Having been a healthy scratch for 19 consecutive games, it remains to be seen when Penguins left winger Sergei Plotnikov will play next.
It’s also a mystery as to where he’ll be playing next.
According to Plotnikov’s agent, the team has been trying to deal him in advance of the NHL’s trade deadline, which is 3 p.m. Monday.
“Sergei wants to play in the NHL as evidenced by the amount of money he paid to be excused from the last year of his KHL contact,” agent Mike Liut said Friday via e-mail. “He understands that this will not happen in Pittsburgh and the Penguins have been attempting to trade Sergei, albeit, a difficult task when a player is a healthy scratch for two months. If a trade is not available, he will have no choice but to return to Russia.”
Liut’s comments came after general manager Jim Rutherford suggested his commitment to the team has cost him playing time.
“In Plotnikov’s case, he started off a little bit feeling his way and then I thought he had a pretty good run for about five weeks,” Rutherford said in a radio interview with 93.7 The Fan. “But there came a point in time where he suggested he wanted to go back to Russia. That didn’t go over too well with the coach because he wants people here that are all in, they want to be here at all costs. That hurt him a little bit with the coach.”
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan did not shed much more light on Plotnikov’s status when asked about Rutherford’s comments.
“Listen, whether that was the case or not doesn’t affect the coaching decisions or not as a coaching staff,” Sullivan said. “For me, it’s my responsibility to put players in the lineup that we think give us the best chance to win, and that’s the criteria we use regardless of all that other stuff.
“Everybody is going to take control of their own personal lives or their personal situations, and that’s their privilege and their obligation. I understand that. But my responsibility as the head coach, is to make sure that we try to make the best decisions that we can that’s in the best interest of this hockey team trying to put people in the lineup that can help us win.”
According to GeneralFanager.com, a website that tracks salary information, Plotnikov, 25, has a one-year entry-level contract with a base salary of $925,000. He has a performance bonus of $2.85 million, but the requirements to meet that bonus are not known.
Signed as a free agent this past offseason, Plotnikov came to North America after buying out of his contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of Russia’s KHL. In 32 games this season, he has two assists.
“To be clear, they’re is no animosity with Pittsburgh, it was a risk that Sergei [and the Penguins] took, it just didn’t work in Pittsburgh,” Liut wrote. “Hopefully he gets another chance with another organization.”
Seth Rorabaugh: email@example.com and Twitter @emptynetters.
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