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. North Dakota dominates Quinnipiac to advance in NCAA tournament

    Mar 28, 2015, 2:16 AM EDT

    NCAA Quinnipiac North Dakota Hockey AP

    A round-up of scores from Friday’s NCAA action.

  2. Oilers put dent in Stars’ playoff hopes

    Mar 28, 2015, 12:52 AM EDT

    Getty Images

    Their in Vancouver to face the Canucks on Saturday.

  3. Running Wild: Flames fail to gain ground in playoff race after loss in Minnesota

    Mar 27, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT

    AP

    That’s a blow to Calgary’s post-season hopes.

  4. Could Lundqvist start Saturday for the Rangers?

    Mar 27, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    AP

    New York plays twice this weekend.

  5. Eichel, BU avoid opening-round NCAA scare, beat Yale in OT

    Mar 27, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Stu Wilson, Jack Eichel, Alex Lyon Getty Images

    Terriers move one step closer to the Frozen Four.

  6. Video: Berube defends how he’s deployed Lecavalier

    Mar 27, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    Craig Berube AP

    “In the middle of the ice in our system, it’s a lot of work.”

  7. Sharks shut down Mueller (hand) for remainder of road trip

    Mar 27, 2015, 4:34 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    And, quite possibly, for the remainder of the season.

  8. Five big games to watch this weekend

    Mar 27, 2015, 4:06 PM EDT

    Derek Stepan, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask AP

    Nail-biting time for Bruins fans.

  9. More bad news for slumping Wings as Sheahan (upper body) out

    Mar 27, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT

    RileySheahan2 Getty Images

    Joins Pavel Datsyuk and Erik Cole on the shelf.

  10. Goalie nods: Make it 33 straight for Dubnyk

    Mar 27, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT

    Devan Dubnyk AP

    News and notes from around the crease…

  11. Caps’ Wilson the latest to be fined for diving

    Mar 27, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT

    Tom Wilson Getty Images

    Washington sophomore now $2,000 lighter in the pocket.

Featured video

Hammond leads Ottawa's turnaround
Top 10 NHL Player Searches