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. It’s back! PHT’s Team of the Day summer series starts tomorrow

    Jul 31, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Getty Images

    Beginning with the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Click for the full 30-team schedule.

  2. Sens agree with Lehner on three-year, $6.675 million contract

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

    Robin Lehner AP

    Went 12-15-6 with a .913 save percentage last season for Ottawa.

  3. Price (knee) won’t start skating ’til mid-August

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Carey Price AP

    But he also won’t require surgery.

  4. 1st-rounders Vrana (Caps), Pastrnak (B’s) highlight Czech WJC team

    Jul 30, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Draft - Round 1 Getty Images

    They’ll face off against Canada and Russia at a tournament in Toronto next week.

  5. Report: New Jersey re-signs Timmins

    Jul 30, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    St. Louis Blues v Florida Panthers St. Louis Blues v Florida Panthers

    Acquired last season in exchange for Krys Barch.

  6. Agent: Subban hasn’t told me to make him NHL’s highest-paid D

    Jul 30, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT

    PK Subban Getty Images

    “We haven’t approached it in that respect.”

  7. NHL hit with another concussion lawsuit

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    bettmangetty Getty Images

    This time, it features just one plaintiff — former Bruin Jon Rohloff.

  8. Devils sign Greene to five-year, $25M extension

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Alternate captain notched a career-high in goals last year.

  9. Contract talks stalled between Kuemper, Wild

    Jul 30, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Darcy Kuemper AP

    “Usually this isn’t the time to fight for the big contract.”

  10. New Red Wings assistant ‘couldn’t be happier’ to get opportunity to work under Babcock

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

    Tri City Americans v Kelowna Rockets Getty Images

    Jim Hiller is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Todd McLellan, Paul MacLean, and Bill Peters.

  11. Not ready to hang ‘em up? Selanne considering return to Jokerit

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

    Teemu Selanne of Finland (8) takes a victory lap around the ice with his medal after he men's bronze medal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Finland defeated the United States 5-0. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) AP

    Finnish club is moving to the KHL next season.

  12. Habs add Lacroix and Ramage to coaching staff

    Jul 30, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game One Getty Images

    That’s Lacroix, when he was an assistant for Tampa Bay.

  13. Red Wings hire two more coaches for Babcock’s staff

    Jul 30, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT

    Mike Babcock Getty Images

    Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer join Tony Granato, who’s also new.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches