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. Humongous bad: Sharks chase Bryzgalov in second period

    Jan 29, 2015, 11:47 PM EST

    Ilya Bryzgalov - Epic - 24-7

    So much for some rest for Frederik Andersen.

  2. WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Sharks

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:33 PM EST

    San Jose Sharks v Anaheim Ducks Getty Images

    Another strong game on NBCSN.

  3. Video: Senators pay tribute to Spezza

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:49 PM EST

    Jason Spezza AP

    Nice applause in his return to Ottawa.

  4. Here’s why Brodeur is working for Blues (instead of Devils)

    Jan 29, 2015, 7:12 PM EST

    Martin Brodeur, Doug Armstrong AP

    To some extent, it was about staying closer to the game.

  5. WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Rangers

    Jan 29, 2015, 6:17 PM EST

    Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers Getty Images

    Bask in a budding rivalry.

  6. Get your game notes: Habs at Rangers

    Jan 29, 2015, 5:28 PM EST

    Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers Getty Images

    The first of a Thursday night doubleheader on NBCSN.

  7. AHL announces new Pacific Division — who could go west next?

    Jan 29, 2015, 4:36 PM EST

    AHLlogo

    The Coyotes and Canucks, that’s who.

  8. Latvian forward Kenins called up to Canucks

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:36 PM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwmxnjrmzdm4nmnjndjlmwmyyzizmgjkzja2ogi5yjll AP

    In the wake of the controversial injury to Derek Dorsett.

  9. Goalie nods: Dubnyk goes again for Wild in key game vs. Flames

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:29 PM EST

    Dubnyk

    News and notes from around the crease…

  10. Lupul activated, available to play versus Coyotes

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:07 PM EST

    Joffrey Lupul Getty Images

    Hopefully he can stay healthy this time.

  11. Seeking consistency, Sharks in ‘dog fight’ to make playoffs

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    Logan Couture, Jonathan Quick AP

    “Consistency is still a word that we use constantly around here, bringing it all the time, and being emotionally attached to the games.”

  12. Report: NHL to unveil jersey ads during World Cup

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:21 PM EST

    2015 NHL All-Star Weekend - Commissioners Press Conference 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend - Commissioners Press Conference

    Just months after COO John Collins said that jersey sponsorship “is coming” to the league.

  13. Babcock didn’t think Wings would be ‘near where we’re at’

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:06 PM EST

    Mike Babcock Getty Images

    “We’ve gotten better, and we’ve got to keep getting better.”

  14. Kings to visit White House, be honored by Obama on Monday

    Jan 29, 2015, 1:51 PM EST

    US-POLITICS-OBAMA-LA KINGS US-POLITICS-OBAMA-LA KINGS

    But the reigning Stanley Cup champs will have to share the stage with another L.A. team.

Featured video

Kings come back in third to top Blackhawks
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (3397)
  2. E. Malkin (2889)
  3. K. Letang (2666)
  4. C. Price (2493)
  5. T. Johnson (2420)