The 25-year-old has been a healthy scratch for 19 straight games
"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," Liut told the Post-Gazette. "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."
In 32 games with the Penguins this season, Plotnikov has tallied just two assists and 20 penalty minutes.
The Penguins are looking to bolster their blueline, and could also add a third-line winger prior to the deadline. It's possible Pens GM Jim Rutherford is trying to package Plotnikov in a deal.
"To be clear, [there] 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."