Skip to content

So…what do the Penguins do with Letang?

Jun 13, 2013, 11:17 AM EDT

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. Bordeleau (back) out about three months, others Avs limp into camp

    Sep 18, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Jamie McGinn and John Mitchell also rank among the already-wounded.

  2. Bruins GM on Krug, Smith: ‘They’re not going anywhere’

    Sep 18, 2014, 10:08 PM EDT

    Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron, Justin Florek, Reilly Smith, Kevan Miller AP

    Peter Chiarelli also (kinda sorta) addressed Johnny Boychuk rumors.

  3. Ouch: Wild reportedly suspend Harding for ‘non-hockey injury’

    Sep 18, 2014, 10:07 PM EDT

    Josh Harding AP

    He won’t be paid or count against the cap while he’s injured.

  4. Selanne regrets harsh words toward Boudreau

    Sep 18, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v Anaheim Ducks - Game Seven Getty Images

    Maybe the English version of his book will be kinder?

  5. Columbus reacts to Horton (back) being out indefinitely

    Sep 18, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Dallas Stars v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

    At least the Blue Jackets’ GM is ruling out surgery.

  6. Flyers’ Timonen admits chances of playing are ‘really slim’

    Sep 18, 2014, 3:51 PM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    He’ll miss at least months, GM Ron Hextall said.

  7. Jagr: ‘I want to play until 50′

    Sep 18, 2014, 3:16 PM EDT

    Jaromir Jagr, Travis Zajac AP

    Hey, he’s got less than eight years to go.

  8. Desjardins (a.k.a. not Torts) makes good first impression on Canucks

    Sep 18, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT

    Willie Desjardins AP

    “I don’t think I had a conversation with Torts until Christmas last year.”

  9. Silent Blue: Armstrong will no longer comment on Schwartz

    Sep 18, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT

    Doug Armstrong AP

    “The next time I’ll talk publicly about Jaden is when we sign him.”

  10. Rangers to name new captain at end of camp

    Sep 18, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

    McDonagh

    And it’s probably going to be Ryan McDonagh.

  11. Eakin, Dillon still without contracts in Dallas

    Sep 18, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT

    Cody Eakin, Corey Perry AP

    Two key youngsters on a Stars team with high hopes.

  12. Veteran d-man Lee going to Preds camp on PTO

    Sep 18, 2014, 12:06 PM EDT

    Ottawa Senators v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Former first-round pick missed extensive time to a torn ACL.

  13. Ex-1st rounder Barker goes full circle, will attend ‘Hawks camp

    Sep 18, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT

    Cam Barker AP

    Remember him? Taken 3rd overall in 2004… behind Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.

  14. Wings lose young sniper Mantha (6-8 weeks) to broken tibia

    Sep 18, 2014, 11:10 AM EDT

    AnthonyMantha

    Tough blow for a kid looking to make the leap this season.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. R. Johansen (2297)
  2. J. Harding (1924)
  3. D. Alfredsson (1556)
  4. S. Crosby (1384)
  5. J. Quick (1354)
  1. D. Kuemper (1286)
  2. S. Bennett (1264)
  3. A. Ovechkin (1099)
  4. B. Schenn (1083)
  5. J. Tootoo (1047)