May 14, 2014, 12:52 PM EST
This isn’t to say the Pittsburgh Penguins should trade Kris Letang. Let’s get that clear right off the bat. It all depends on the return. Letang may not be the best defensive defenseman in the game, and of course he’s had some serious health issues that may make potential trade partners wary. But he still logs almost 25 minutes a night, and since 2010-11, only Erik Karlsson has averaged more points per game among regular NHL blue-liners.
Which is to say, if the Pens do trade Letang, they better have a plan to replace him, both in the short- and long-term. We imagine re-signing Matt Niskanen would be part of that plan, and extending Paul Martin for a few more years might be a good idea as well. Oh, and they’d probably have to get a decent d-man back in the trade.
So if all that has to happen and it’s such a big risk, why explore dealing him in the first place? Well, for starters, as we wrote just last week, there’s a real demand around the NHL for right-handed d-men who can play regular minutes and help a team’s power play. Would Detroit be interested? You can bet Ken Holland would at least answer Ray Shero’s call.
Letang, 27, is also about to start an eight-year, $58 million contract, which comes with a cap hit of $7.25 million. Only Shea Weber and Ryan Suter have higher hits among NHL d-men. And remember, the Penguins already have two of the three highest cap hits in the league, with Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million) and Evgeni Malkin ($9.5 million) also on the books. Bottom line: having three of the league’s top 16 cap hits presents a challenge when it comes to improving the rest of the team, and teams that lack depth don’t win Stanley Cups.
Finally, let’s not forget Olli Maatta, 19, and Derrick Pouliot, 20, a pair of blue-chip youngsters from the 2012 draft. The former is already with the Pens; the latter was recently named the WHL’s top defenseman. If all goes well, both will be excellent NHLers. Again, if all goes well. No guarantees.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:07 PM EST
Busy day for Montreal.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:06 PM EST
Speedy winger was rumored to be a trade deadline target.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:58 PM EST
Kids. They do the darndest things.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:43 PM EST
Has only been to the playoffs once in his career.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:38 PM EST
New York gets Mark Louis in the deal.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:23 PM EST
It’s the veteran’s third team this season.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:18 PM EST
Couple of minor-league forwards switch clubs.
Mar 2, 2015, 1:49 PM EST
Buffalo also gets a third-round pick in 2016.
Mar 2, 2015, 1:44 PM EST
Doug Wilson, making deals.
Mar 2, 2015, 1:41 PM EST
San Jose gets a conditional 2015 or 2016 draft pick in return.
Mar 2, 2015, 1:40 PM EST
Jim Rutherford and Doug Armstrong orchestrate another.
Mar 2, 2015, 1:15 PM EST
Yes, he shoots right.
Mar 2, 2015, 1:02 PM EST
Western Conference foes flip forwards.
Mar 2, 2015, 12:32 PM EST
The goaltender led the Sens to three straight wins.
Mar 2, 2015, 12:10 PM EST
Don Maloney’s a busy man.
Mar 2, 2015, 11:21 AM EST
Couple of potential scenarios being reported.
Mar 2, 2015, 10:56 AM EST
Veteran blueliner is currently sidelined with a concussion, however.
Mar 2, 2015, 10:51 AM EST
Fifth-round pick goes to Buffalo.
Mar 2, 2015, 10:11 AM EST
“He’s a player we kind of looked at for a while.”
Mar 2, 2015, 10:04 AM EST
All the latest leading up to 3 p.m. ET…
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils 58
- Can the Wings and Leafs work out a deal for Phaneuf? 45
- PHT’s 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker 15
- Trade: Montreal acquires Petry from Edmonton for two draft picks 21
- Bruins acquire Connolly from the Lightning for draft picks (Confirmed) 32
- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder 69
- Trade: Capitals land Glencross, Flames get two picks 23
- Flames place Giordano on IR 5
- Flyers keep faint playoff hopes alive with win over Rangers 28
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder 74
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (161)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder (69)