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Report: Letang is worried about his future with Pens

Jun 26, 2013, 11:33 PM EDT

letangvleafsgetty Getty Images

There were already rumblings that a salary cap crush and some playoff struggles might spell the end of Kris Letang‘s time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi fanned those flames on Wednesday, citing sources that claim Letang is “uneasy” about his status within the franchise.

One detail that’s almost as juicy: if it’s determined that a trade is necessary, those same anonymous sources claim that the 26-year-old defenseman would prefer to join the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to the report, the Penguins would ask for an NHL-ready player who is under contract, one or more top prospects and a “potential first-round draft pick.”

It’s important to note that the Penguins haven’t given up on signing Letang. GM Ray Shero told Rossi that the “focus is on working out a new contract,” yet he didn’t rule out several options, including a trade.

Both sides give the impression that it would be ideal for Letang to stay with a contract extension in hand, at least from what’s been said.

Letang’s bargain $3.5 million cap hit expires after 2013-14, and with the market treating high-scoring defenseman very well, it’s believed that the Norris Trophy candidate could fetch a healthy ransom.

The situation is somewhat reminiscent of last summer, when Jordan Staal and the Penguins reached an impasse during contract extension talks, leading to the two-way center being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes.

It’s way too early to say that Letang will be wearing another team’s uniform next season. Still, it begs the question: is Letang getting married this summer?

  1. devilsarethebest - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    Toronto can’t fit him under the cap, and I know I’m gonna hear how they have 21 million in cap space, they only have 11 players under contract. That’s not looking too good.

    • reppintdot - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:03 AM

      if per say we do end up trading for letang. how r we gonna resign both him and kessel long term

      • devilsarethebest - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        You can’t. It’s a chice anonis is gonna have to make and a mistake there could be costly. Assuming you guys get letang, which as I see now is impractical. Sure he’d like too but there’s only so much he can demand.

      • devilsarethebest - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:28 AM

        *Nonis

    • stakex - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:27 AM

      Well lets not forget that Toronto has two compliance buyouts to use. Komisarek is almost certainly going to be one which would give them $3.5 more cap space and John-Michael Liles or Mikhail Grabovski are both prime candidates as well. All told the Leafs might have between $7-9 more cap space to work with then they do right this second. Quite possibly not enough if Letang wants the big bucks and they plan to keep Kessel, but it at least makes it a possibility.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      it doesnt matter what letang wants, he doesnt have a no trade so shero will get whats best for his team and hopefully ship letang out west…for a pick and a prospect. i dont expect to see a roster guy involved at all due to the cap room thats needed in pittsburgh

  2. tdrusher225 - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    I love watching him, but he’s not worth 7+ mil. That’s money you pay to defensemen who actually defend at an elite level. The Penguins d-men prospect corps is stacked, especially with players who possess good puck-moving skills. If he was willing to bring the number down it’d make more sense, but he’s not worth what they’re asking for now.

    • packerswin96 - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:17 AM

      I agree with you, except look at what Karrlsson got from Ottawa. Karl is better O, with Letang better D (tho both suck at that part)

      • kaptaanamerica - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:40 AM

        Karlsson is much better defensively than he’s given credit for. I don’t believe you saw him play this year before his injury. The guy was a machine on both ends of the ice. teams were not getting the puck when he was on the ice due to the lopsided possession stats. the guy was playing solid D by having the puck all the time when he was on the ice. other teams weren’t getting a sniff in the Ottawa end. This guy was the best player in the league before Matt Cooke got through with him.

      • tdrusher225 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        Yeah I’m not a big fan of Karlsson either, as you may have guessed. The fact that he won the Norris trophy last year as a guy who is consistently average in his own end, is ridiculous to me. I understand the flash of these offensive d-men, but if I’m starting a team I want my top defenseman to be someone who can play at a high level at both ends of the ice. Duncan Keith, Zdeno Chara, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Drew Doughty, etc. Those are the kinds of guys you pay big money for.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:34 AM

      Leafs are foolish and Nonis has shown he is willing to overpay. His team will suck this year under a full NHL schedule. Many of the players on that team wilt as the season goes on. Note all the collapses in the late going (not just in the first round of this year) over the past several seasons. When they have to play the Western teams they have a solid losing record.

      Leafs will try and trade for a guy like this even though they have d prospects themselves and guys who play a similar style as Letang (I can’t imagine Letang will flourish in Toronto any more than Liles who was also a similar player coming into to Toronto from Colorado and is being bought out apparently). Nonis doesn’t build through the draft and likes to trade away draft picks for the quick fix. He left the Canucks without any prospects by the time he was done. Burke on the other hand does draft well and is a good judge of young talent.

      I’d like to see the Leafs get this guy and then fail to make the playoffs again.

  3. withseidelinn - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Can’t really think of a trade that could include a roster player which wouldn’t really hurt the Leafs. If they were doing a top prospect and a pick deal (which I highly doubt they would since they are trying to stay away from trading 1st round picks) I think it would start at either Stu Percy or even Carter Ashton/Joe Colborne. I still don’t think that would be enough though, since Gardiner or Rielly aren’t going anywhere.

  4. billyhauntswizards - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    I don’t see where he fits in in the Leafs plans esp with Gardiner developing.

  5. bobhpine - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    If the eroding skill set of a 36 year old mark streit gets 5 mil a year, then 26 year old, point per game Norris trophy finalist Kris Letang will get north of 7 without breaking a sweat. The discount the Pens need from him is just to big of a gap. Letang is a special player, but you can’t keep everybody.

    The pens decided on Sid, Geno, Neal and Fleury to make more than 5, adding Letang to that group means no chance at Cooke, Duper, or any other free agent. With Despres coming and two high end puck moving D men in the minors in Pouliot and maatta, Letang’s skill set is one that the Pens can (largely) replace internally for a cheaper price tag.

    That said, I hope he goes out west. I’d hate to have to watch 58 skating for another team five times a year.

  6. Stiller43 - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    I’d love to keep tanger but it doesnt look good.

  7. atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    If the Leafs trade Phaneuf and then bring in Letang aren’t they essentially swapping for the exact same player? Good offensively, questionable defensively, Letang is a better skater but Phaneuf is more physical, both are free agents after this season and presumably Phaneuf will be cheaper to resign. Not sure I see the upside for the Maple Leafs here.

  8. chanceoffleury1 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    It’s this simple: he’s getting traded. I have always loved him as a player, and believe it or not, he actually lives across the street from me(as does Matt Cooke) so the occasional neighborly wave and once in a blue moon small talk about how nice the weather has (or hasn’t) been over the last 3ish years has made it hard for me to accept that he’s the one that’s gotta go. I really don’t even know him but he’s always come across as a really nice guy, but unfortunately he is very replaceable within the Pens organization right now. There are multiple “KrisLetang lites” coming up and they will all probably be NHL ready within the next 2 to 3 years. Oh yeah, and they come at under half the cost. That’s pretty important. I really don’t care if he would take a $5 million dollar cap hit, by keeping him around you will be holding back the rest of your prospects. They did the same thing with Gonchar. Had to set him free so Letang could go out and fly on his own. They’d only be hurting themselves by keeping him around long term. So Letang, it’s been real, I’m sure my new neighbor will never be as cool as living across from you, thanks for the Cup, but ya gotta go. Sorry.

    • devilsarethebest - Jun 27, 2013 at 4:29 AM

      Wow, that’s actually really cool.

      • chanceoffleury1 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        Neil Walker lives here too! My house is quite the prime location for the diehard Pittsburgh Sports fans. That being said, I can assure you it is far less cool than what anybody is imagining. Especially b/c I’ve been at college in a different state 7 months out of the year for the past 4 years that any of them have lived there. I almost never see any of them. Letang lived there for almost 6 months before I even realized he was my neighbor. I’ve spoken to him a whopping 3 times in my entire life. Like I said, aside from the fact I’ve gotten a handful of neighborly waves that have put them in my good book, I don’t know any of them any better than any other fan in either league. My dad keeps joking that if he gets traded our home’s value will go down since we can’t use it as a selling point. As far as I know they could all be running meth labs and hiding dead bodies in their basements and I’d be just as surprised as anybody else. It’s just a cool thing to brag about really. Hahaha!

    • micklethepickle - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      You should do me a favor and light a bag of dog **** on that POS Cooke’s doorstep.

  9. redridershoottheireyeout - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    How about going to a team just South of Toronto?

  10. belaalvard - Jun 27, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    just before I looked at the paycheck four $8672, I be certain …that…my neighbours mother was like they say trully making money in there spare time from there putar.. there friend brother has done this less than fifteen months and by now paid the dept on there house and purchased a brand new Renault 5. I went here, go to this site home tab for more detail—>>> http://goo.gl/nj9yO

    • devilsarethebest - Jun 27, 2013 at 4:27 AM

      Go away!!!

  11. jonkchar - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:08 AM

    hmm Toronto does have a goalie in Reimer..

    • devilsarethebest - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      That won’t help their situation because he’s going to be a UFA and, well yea

  12. timmons94 - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Karlsson. Was best player in league. Oh brother. Very good. But best. Quit drinking. Would be good fit in Toronto. Leafs. Isles. 2 teams to watch out for. Add letang and look out

  13. eggserino - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    Would you take Letang over Pietrangelo? Letang is probably a high $4m to mid $5m player.

  14. theageofquarrel - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Kunitz just signed a 3 year extension

  15. malkinrulez - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Letang wants to be traded to Toronto! I want a Lamborghini ! Neither of us will get what we want . Pens will ship Letang to the highest bidder , Letang has no say in the matter.

  16. pdmjr - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    You are wrong Letang holds all of the cards, he can wait until next off season. No team will trade for him unless the Pens have a long term deal in place. He wants a no movement contract too. If they give it to him he can’t be traded anywhere

    • jpelle82 - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      you think a team with $$ wont trade for him then negotiate? i mean philly just traded for streit with no deal in place and he was a rfa – they basically traded for his rights to negotiate. letang has a full year to play with his new team if he’s traded – there’s value there in his 3.5 mill hit for one year by itself even without a new contract.

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