Skip to content

So…what do the Penguins do with Letang?

Jun 13, 2013, 11:17 AM EST

letangtoughnightgetty Getty Images

On Thursday, the Penguins dropped $76 million to keep Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh until 2022, which made for an interesting situation.

With the majority of the club’s money locked up in core players like Sidney Crosby (12 years, $104.4 million), James Neal (six years, $30 million) and now Malkin, questions immediately abounded about how GM Ray Shero would retain the services of a number of key UFAs.

Specifically, Kris Letang.

The 26-year-old Norris nominee is heading into the final season of a four-year, $14 million deal, coming off a campaign in which he continued to produce as one of the NHL’s best offensive defensemen: 38 points in 35 games, tied with PK Subban for the league lead among blueliners (Subban had the advantage of playing seven more games, though).

Letang has essentially been a point-a-game producer over the last two seasons, and has carried that scoring rate into the postseason.

So…what do the Penguins do with him?

Shero’s already on record saying Letang won’t be going anywhere. But, at the same time, he admitted the Pens will have to undergo some restructuring.

“This team is going to change,” said Shero. “It happens every year with free agency, salary cap, trades. Change is sometimes good and sometimes hard.”

Pittsburgh also needs to know what Letang wants to be paid.

On that note, here’s Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Letang, 26, seeks at least a five-year contract  with a full no-trade clause, though he prefers an eight-year term. He also wants  a full no-movement clause. Compensation is trickier because Letang is the first  in-his-prime defenseman set to hit the open market under the new labor deal. 

The Penguins believe Letang will want at least $7  million annually and closer to or above $8 million.

And here’s TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who notes that negotiations between Shero and Letang’s agent, Kent Hughes, haven’t started yet:

It seems the biggest question will be if Pittsburgh wants to pay Letang as its elite, No. 1 defenseman, making him the guy.

On the surface, that decision might seem like a no-brainer — he was nominated as one of the three best blueliners in the league — but Letang still struggles with the defensive side of the game and has a penchant for turnovers and questionable decisions.

In short, he’s far from the perfect all-around defenseman.

Pittsburgh also has future blueliners to consider. The club spent a pair of first-round picks in 2012 on defensemen Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta and a second-round pick in 2011 on Scott Harrington.

Simon Despres, the club’s first-round pick in 2009, looks as though he’s ready to become a full-time NHLer. And there’s also the veterans to consider — Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik — neither of whom is signed past 2015.

So…what would you do with Letang?

Latest Posts
  1. NHL on NBCSN: Sharks, Kings renew hostilities

    Dec 27, 2014, 9:53 AM EST

    Tomas Hertl, Jonathan Quick AP

    Los Angeles is in a delicate position after a pre-holiday slump.

  2. NHL on NBCSN: Can Capitals take advantage of depleted Penguins?

    Dec 27, 2014, 9:04 AM EST

    Matt Niskanen Getty Images

    Washington hasn’t beaten Pittsburgh since Jan. 11, 2012.

  3. Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy a recipient of the Order of Canada

    Dec 26, 2014, 8:30 PM EST

    Calgary Flames v Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Getty Images

    Long-time play-by-play man Bob Cole also recognized.

  4. Sharks recall Haley from the AHL

    Dec 26, 2014, 7:00 PM EST

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Will be filling the spot vacated by the suspended John Scott.

  5. Eichel earns assist and scores in shootout as U.S. squeaks by Finland

    Dec 26, 2014, 5:38 PM EST

    United States v Finland - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Getty Images

    Decent start for the Americans at the World Juniors.

  6. The Devils are old, and that’s a problem no coach can fix

    Dec 26, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    Jaromir Jagr Getty Images

    New Jersey has three of the five oldest skaters in the NHL.

  7. Five team stats you may find interesting

    Dec 26, 2014, 3:30 PM EST

    Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry Getty Images

    The Anaheim Ducks have been good — or is it lucky? — in one-goal games.

  8. Canada enters World Juniors as 11/10 favorite; USA next at 9/4

    Dec 26, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Canada Training Sessions - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Getty Images

    Connor McDavid headlines a loaded host side that hasn’t won gold since 2009.

  9. Devils fire DeBoer

    Dec 26, 2014, 12:43 PM EST

    Head coach Peter DeBoer works the bench against the New York Islanders during a preseason game at the Barclays Center on September 21, 2013 in Brooklyn borough of New York City.The game is the first professional hockey match to be held in the arena that is slated to be the new home for the Islanders at the start of the 2015-2016 season.
(September 20, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    New Jersey off to a disappointing 12-17-7 start. The coach pays the price.

  10. More love for 3-on-3 overtime

    Dec 26, 2014, 11:59 AM EST

    Matt Duchene Getty Images

    Put Matt Duchene on the list of supporters.

  11. Orpik reflects on ‘outside pressure’ in Pittsburgh

    Dec 26, 2014, 11:17 AM EST

    Marc-Andre Fleury, Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Brandon Dubinsky AP

    “That was something that wore on guys.”

  12. Expect Ekblad to shatter Florida’s rookie D records

    Dec 26, 2014, 10:20 AM EST

    Aaron Ekblad Getty Images

    He already grabbed the franchise’ assists mark in that category.

  13. Canada tabs Fucale for WJC opener

    Dec 26, 2014, 9:39 AM EST

    Zachary Fucale AP

    They picked him over Eric Comrie.

Featured video

Holiday wish lists for NHL teams
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Bishop (2587)
  2. C. Perry (2193)
  3. S. Crosby (2015)
  4. B. Elliott (1997)
  5. S. Weiss (1975)
  1. J. Howard (1764)
  2. S. Varlamov (1694)
  3. J. Schwartz (1562)
  4. N. Kronwall (1433)
  5. S. Downie (1379)