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It’s official: Penguins sign Letang to eight-year, $58 million deal

Jul 2, 2013, 6:03 PM EDT

Kris Letang Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins have locked up another key piece of their core today by announcing the signing of Kris Letang to an eight-year, $58 million extension. Letang was already signed through 2013-14, so he’s now under the Penguins control until the summer of 2022.

In Letang, the Penguins have a 26-year-old that’s widely regarded as one of the top offensive defenseman in the league. He was a finalist for the 2013 Norris Trophy and had 80 points in 86 games over the last two seasons.

At the same time, Pittsburgh is taking a sizable risk by agreeing to pay Letang an average of $7.25 million annually over the life of this contract. The Penguins now have $30.45 million worth of cap space committed to Letang, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal starting in 2014-15. That represents nearly half of the salary cap by next year’s standards tied to just four players.

While it is likely that the cap will increase over the life of these players contracts, Penguins GM Ray Shero might still have a tough time building a supporting cast around those four stars with what’s left of his cap space.

  1. mrpinkca - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    It’s a good thing there is no system in place to “cap” how much a team could spend on players. If there were, it probably wouldn’t be a great idea to spend $30 Million on 4 players.

    Thank god there’s nothing like that.

  2. danpit2 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Too much invested in too few players however letang is one of the best in the game

    • stakex - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      Best in the game? He is a very so-so defensemen at best. Yes he puts up some really good offensive numbers the last couple seasons , but that likely has a lot to do with the fact he’s playing for an all offense, no defense team. If he had to function inside a more balanced system, where defense was as important as offense…. he wouldn’t be worth nearly as much.

      • quips007quips007 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:34 PM

        Thats right…best in the game….scored more playoff points than any defensemen in the playoffs…he is an amazing talent and the Pens did right to sign him…If anything…its more of a risk giving Crosby his money….one good hit away from concussion city…but you ain’t crying about that you frickin whiner

      • burgh916 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:47 PM

        Quips, god you are what’s wrong with the casual hockey fan… Most points DOES NOT equate to being the best DEFENSEMAN… God where has common sense gone anymore.

      • jennettalia - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:14 PM

        Being a Norris finalist two weeks ago means he’s generally considered to be at least among the best defencemen. I think too many people are investing in the words of others about how much of a liability Letang was, just a guess.

        Living in Vancouver, it was the same thing with Luongo. 2011, he was a Vezina finalist. Didn’t win the cup (despite being a year removed from saving Canada from Brodeur and winning the gold medal) and so the fans turned on him, despite him having a great year overall.

        I suspect the coverage for Letang over there is showing every bad play he’s made and none of the good ones, much like the case with Luongo.

      • greenmtnboy31 - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:53 PM

        He’s just not that good and it showed in the playoffs. If he wants to keep scoring points its going to keep costing Pitt on his mediocre D skills.

      • hockey412 - Jul 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

        I realize that ‘facts’ have nothing to do with your ramblings, and that you don’t much care whether what your spewing is the truth or not, but just as an FYI, Letang has proven himself to be a VERY good defenseman. He did not have a good playoffs this year, and likely was trying to do too much with the puck. However, that does not take away the progress he’s made over the past several years with Pittsburgh. I realize you probably are taking a small sample (most likely from this year’s playoffs only) as the basis for your inaccurate ramblings, but at some point you have to acknowledge that Letang was a Norris Trophy candidate and Shero was the GM of the year….so really your opinion equates to nothing more than some idiot muttering to himself in the corner.

  3. narfmoo12 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    It’s funny. Pittsburgh fans will say that it’s great to keep Letang regardless of the cost, while everyone else be happy that they are tying that much money up in a guy who isn’t a shutdown defenseman and is always hurt.

    • zeke426 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      Penguins fan here and I think this was a stupid move.

      • burgh916 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:48 PM

        Another Pens fan here I second that!

      • blastfurnaceknows - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        Another Pens fan here, and I like Letang, but NOT for that much of a cap hit. Shero overpaid, and not just a little, for a defenseman who is, at best, average in his own end.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      i’ve been saying it for weeks, this is irresponsible and a terrible contract. anyone hear if there is a no-trade clause? i know that was a sticking point.

    • pens919209 - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      Well count me as a Pittsburgh fan who thought they should have traded him instead of tying up an obscene amount of money and cap space by signing him to a long term deal like this. I guess we can look forward to 8 more years of total playoff meltdowns.

      • laxman1944 - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        God willing …..YES….

    • live4hockey - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      Sure some penguins fans will do that…however there are many many others that think this was not a smart move, me included. In fact, I have yet to speak with a Penguins fan who doesn’t think this was a stupid move. What Penguins fans are you talking to?

  4. steelers88 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Yeah I see why you see Letang is a great player but his not great when his supposed to be and that’s in the Playoffs. I really don’t understand why Shero is sticking with the same players that have been bounced in the last 4 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    • burgh916 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      Totally agree we need upwards to 50-60% roster shakeup in my honest opinion. Ever since we won the cup in ’09 we lost that drive to really pursue a cup.

  5. stakex - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    This is a great move for everyone who can’t stand the Pens. With so much money spent on so few players in 2014-15, the Pens will have virtually no depth beyond the first line…. and will seriously struggle to win in the playoffs.

    Mark my words, the Pens might have kept their free agent stars, but it came at the expensive of having a shot to win a cup.

    • narfmoo12 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:29 PM

      They have $45M tied up in 7 players for 2014-15.

    • quips007quips007 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:35 PM

      Okay dick…we’re marking our words……what a moron

      • jpelle82 - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:34 PM


    • jpelle82 - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      so every year the pens dont win the cup you get to say “see i told you its because they signed letang to 7.25 million per year”. yup. thats why. marked your words. has nothing to do with the other 29 teams in the league.

    • killerpgh - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      Penguins have 44m tied up in 7 players for the 2014 season and they are screwed according to you. How are the Rangers? 20M tied up in 4 players. Say Lundqvist signs for 7.5 (TSN reported he wants Malkin money), McDonagh signs for 4 and Callahan signs for 4. (those numbers are the low end, imo) That will put the Rangers at 35+ million for 7 players. And I think anyone with any hockey sense would take the Penguins 7 players at 44 million over the Rangers 7 players at 35.5-38.5 million.

  6. malkinrulez - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    I’ll admit this signing makes me nervous but I am willing to give Shero the benefit of the doubt.

    • blastfurnaceknows - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      Nope, Shero got the benefit of the doubt when he made a flurry of moves at this year’s deadline, despite excellent team chemistry and success beforehand. When those moves blew up in the playoffs, his getting the benefit of the doubt should have gone in the explosion.

  7. philly4lyfe - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    its official: the penguins will have a huge hole on the back end for the next eight years, and it will cost them $58m.

  8. philly4lyfe - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    flyers nation on Facebook is reporting the flyers got vinny c

    • quips007quips007 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      Losers like Losers

  9. quips007quips007 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    I wonder what the Hawks have tied up with Hossa, Kane, and Toews……..quit your frickin bellyaching…….you don’t trade a 26 year old amazing talent like Letang……what a bunch of anuses

    • narfmoo12 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      You do realize that they tried to trade him and nobody would get them anything of value?

      • proudlyfrenchcanadian - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        narfmoo12, You do realize how stupid that makes you sound right?

    • hazlydose - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      Toews, Kane, and Hossa have a combined cap hit of 17.875 million per year. That’s 2 million over half of Crosby, Malkin, and Letang combined. Thanks for playing. By the way I’m a pens fan, but unlike you didn’t start watching in 2006.

      • killerpgh - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:12 PM

        Next season Crosby/Malkin/Letang total cap hit 20.9 million for the 3. Kane and Toews won’t be playing for 6.3 million in 2 years. Even if the take discounts they will probably be around 8 million for each. Everyone wants to say the Penguins are in trouble with having 7 players signed costing 44 million in 2014, but noone is talking about the Blackhawks having 7 players signed at 42.5 million for the 2014 season.

      • killerpgh - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:33 PM

        I meant to say the Blackhawks have 8 player for 42.5. Not 7.

  10. supercoop8 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Is there still the possibility that he can be traded before his NTC kicks in next summer??? If that is still a possibility then maybe Shero is keeping him happy to squeeze one more run at cheap before sending him elsewhere. The past few years have shown that there is always a market for grossly overpaid offensive minded D-men.

    • quips007quips007 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      Letang wanted a guarantee against that…wonder if he got it?

      • chanceoffleury1 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:36 PM

        Can they even have anything more than a verbal agreement that Shero won’t do it? They can’t adjust his current contract to add stuff like that, and the “rules” of his new contract don’t kick in until July 2014.

  11. quips007quips007 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    They cleared 2 million ousting Kennedy…a Fleury buy-out will yield 5 million in cap space….let it play out lamebrains…

    • narfmoo12 - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      By the way, ESPN sucks. Where is this news, LeCavalier news, etc… they should just let TSN run their NHL page.

    • hazlydose - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      And who will be our goalie when 37 year old Tomas Vokoun, who is one year removed from a torn groin, walks in free agency or retires next year?

  12. modellforprez - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Keep your Fangs “Fartsmell” out If Letang. L-E-T-A-N-G CLAN!! Repeat. thanks to Method Man RZA and the whole Wu Gambino crime Rap family for being good sports

  13. pitpenguinsrulez - Jul 2, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    I’m not thrilled with it to be honest but how often can you find a good puck moving defenseman who can be a legit Norris Trophy nominee every year despite being a liability on the blueline. It only looks bad now because the cap is shrinking but remember folks the new deal won’t kick in until next year when the cap might increase.

    …Now if the Pens trade Neal…per some toolbag in Ottawa…ill be highly mad!

    • laxman1944 - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      It goes to show you.

      Blue chip Blueliners are hard to come by and when you have one (faults and all) you have to pay them or somebody else will.

  14. malkinrulez - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Shero put together a great team for the playoffs and they ran into a red hot goalie in the ECF’S . I refuse to rip Shero everything I heard said it would be partial NTC so Letang can be traded when young kids are ready to step in.

  15. 19to77 - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    There’s still a way out of this which people aren’t considering. He has one year left on his original contract, which has no trade protection. Ordinarily, you’d think “Why would they trade him next year after trying so hard to sign him?” but remember, Shero openly admitted to looking at trade options too. If they’re looking for cap relief by next year’s trade deadline, he’d be a fast way to achieve it. Shero’s left options open in case he regrets this later.

  16. steelbloggin - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    The ongoing ability to trade Letang is the key to this contract. Not sure if they couldn’t find a trade that would have worked out now, but if Shero protected the Pens with enough outs in the NTC then it’s probably the best move that he had at present time. If he stays healthy and performs at a similar level, with the growth of the cap in coming years, the Pens will still get by because he’s an asset more than a liability. Need some of the D prospects to make steps towards getting to the show sooner rather than later

  17. sabrinaaxel - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    up to I saw the paycheck ov $6467, I be certain that my friend woz like they say realie bringing in money part time from there labtop.. there friend brother haz done this for only 21 months and just now repaid the depts on there villa and bought Ariel Atom. read more at,

  18. spitfisher - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    With all this money tied up on the front end, who’s going to play the 3rd and 4th line…the ice girls?

    Keep shooting your load penquins….this will be fun to watch.

  19. ironman721 - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Bad move. I agree with Crosby and Malkin contracts but this is too much to a defenseman. 👎

    • greenmtnboy31 - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      Agreed, and an average D man at that. Just dumb.

  20. jaguar0413 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Most overrated defenseman in the entire game. No way his game in his own end justifies this ridiculous cap hit. You know its a terrible contract when better players have lower cap hits.

    Drew Doughty: $7.0 million
    Erik Karlsson: $6.5 million
    Brent Seabrook: $5.8 million
    Duncan Keith: $5.5 million
    Mike Green: 6.08 million

    Doughty, Karlsson and Keith are miles better than Letang at both ends of the ice. Seabrook is significantly better in his own end, and Mike Green is a carbon copy of Letang but with a more favorable contract length and cap hit.

    In two years, Pens will be wishing they could have used their compliance buyout on this contract.

    • chanceoffleury1 - Jul 3, 2013 at 12:22 AM

      It’s hard to judge deals signed under the previous CBA to deals being signed under this CBA. They had different rules to oblige by and their contracts will be structured differently.

      And to say Keith and Doughty are better in the defensive role is absolutely true, but to say they are as gifted offensively as guys like Karlsson and Letang is not. They’re pretty average for defenseman on the offensive side of the puck. Now I am by no means saying that EK or KL style is “better” since they are more gifted offensively (I’d rather have Keith or Doughty), I’m just trying to make a point that Keith and Doughty will probably never score 90 points in a season but Karlsson or Letang might. You are downplaying Letang’s ceiling, too. He has his lapses but he is *not* terrible at all times. He can be very, very good at time, in fact. You’re comparing his worst to their best. Karlsson and Seabrook were specifically called out by their coaches just this postseason for how terrible they looked on the ice for stretches of time. Nobody is great all the time. Seabrook-Keith is basically the defense equivalent of Neal-Malkin. Malkin and Keith are both great players on their own, but Seabrook and Neal benefit by who they play with. Their partners are talented enough to fill in their holes. Seabrook is pretty average when he’s playing with anybody but Keith. It’s not a bad thing. Like I said, the Pens have the same type of player in James Neal. It’s why you lock up the Keith’s and Malkin’s that make guys better. The Seabrook’s and Neal’s are “good” players on their own, but their chemistry with a certain on-ice partner just puts them over the edge into being considered a “great” player. Just about every d man in the league is gonna be better playing next to Keith, but I’m not convinced that every d man would be better by being paired up with Seabrook.

  21. garryjercia - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Good. He’s a punk and should play for a punk team.

  22. lsxphotog - Jul 3, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    Glad to see they signed Letang to such an outrageous deal. Then Penguins have stupid money tied up into five players…with no room to fill out the rest of the roaster with quality. LOL Great move.

  23. slysipops - Jul 3, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    okay , so you have 5 starters in the line up core ……. and 12 homeless guys who can stand up on skates………………. i love it ! i wonder how the guys on ROOT TV will work around this ?

  24. slysipops - Jul 3, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    hey pens need a goalie ? i hear DE PIETRO is available !

    • spitfisher - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      And Timmy Thomas

  25. REDSKINSFORLIFE - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Good bye team…… Hello 4 cap hogs with a bunch of 5th liners filling ice space. This is good news for those of us that can’t stand Cindy.

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