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. Pittsburgh columnist: Penguins’ narcissism, arrogance led to Game 2 defeat

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT

    Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Calvert AP

    With a two-goal lead, Pittsburgh had four forwards on during a power play, which proved to be the turning point of this game.

  2. Wild focus on handling Avs’ speed

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:15 AM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    “You can’t defend on your heels,” Ryan Suter said.

  3. MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    Colorado overcomes some strange officiating late in Game 2.

  4. Video: Roenick says MacKinnon is more dominant at 18 than Crosby was

    Apr 19, 2014, 11:56 PM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    Colorado’s rookie sensation is inspiring some bold words.

  5. Red-hot Avs chase Bryzgalov in second period

    Apr 19, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game One Getty Images

    Colorado might want to keep Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon together.

  6. Blue Jackets’ Tyutin appears to suffer injury

    Apr 19, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    The defenseman last played in the first period.

  7. Video: Nathan MacKinnon’s first career playoff goal is gorgeous

    Apr 19, 2014, 10:18 PM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    He’s clearly not wilting in the postseason spotlight.

  8. Hitchcock’s Backes update: He’s not great

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

    St Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    The Blues coach mostly pleads the fifth.

  9. Seabrook: ‘I was just trying to make a play on Backes’

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:52 PM EDT

    Brent Seabrook Getty Images

    His play may wind up costing him a suspension.

  10. WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2)

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Evgeni Malkin, Derek MacKenzie AP

    Pittsburgh carries a 1-0 series lead into Saturday.

  11. Video: Bryan Bickell goes knee-on-knee with Vladimir Sobotka

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v St. Louis Blues - Game Two Getty Images

    His penalty got things going in the wrong direction for Chicago.

Featured video

Detroit must exploit Boston's young D
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. T. Oshie (4402)
  2. M. Duchene (3762)
  3. E. Malkin (3398)
  4. B. Bishop (3004)
  5. D. Backes (2663)
  1. H. Zetterberg (2576)
  2. O. Palat (2566)
  3. R. Getzlaf (2422)
  4. S. Mason (2409)
  5. V. Tarasenko (2366)