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‘I like Kris Letang,’ says Rutherford

Jun 7, 2014, 6:21 PM EDT

Kris Letang Getty Images

Given I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the Pittsburgh Penguins should explore trading defenseman Kris Letang, I was curious what new general manager Jim Rutherford would have to say about the player.

Well, here’s what Rutherford said (yesterday on 93.7 The Fan): “He’s a very talented player. He prepares himself properly, and he’s a guy that can play big minutes. You need that type of player. It’s hard for me to answer some of these questions, because I look at this team from a distance. … But I like Kris Letang. I think he’s a very good player.”

Nothing too substantial there, but worth passing on nonetheless. “You need that type of player” was probably the key point. As I noted in my original post, the Pens would have to have a good plan to replace Letang’s minutes if they did explore trading him, and that’s easier said than done.

  1. joey4id - Jun 7, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    What else could Rutherford say? Letang takes a lot of risks and I wonder if the risk/value factor is really worth it.

  2. runhigh24 - Jun 7, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Letang is inconsistent and injury prone to a degree. But when on he is a legit Norris trophy candidate. You don’t throw those guys out with the bathwater. Best to find a way to minimize the inconsistencies than to move him for 60 cents on the dollar.

    • c9castine - Jun 7, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      when you invest that many millions of dollars in a guy, from draft to 58 million dollar contract, you dont just decide one day to trade him, especially knowing youll never get proper value for him on the market.

      he would be less injury prone if he adjusted his physical play a little bit. he has a tendency to be a bit wild and sometimes puts himself in risky situations. pretty much the way he plays all forms of the game. with just a BIT more control he would be an annual norris candidate. he plays defense very, very well. its his risk taking that gets him into trouble when it happens, not his inability to defend.

      • Kristenaux - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM

        Let’s not forget that he’s targeted too so he tends to get bumps and bangs. But looking back, aside from the stroke, which is a first time ever for anyone, he will play through injury better than anyone else on the team. So it’s not so risk in my view to keep him on. I have absolutely no problem with his salary. I could think of a few others that could take a cut…

      • c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:35 PM

        yeah me too. like say cutting scuderi’s salary back from 3.75 to 0.

        kunitz proved hes worth his dollar. dupuis i believe will. while his production is more in the 3 mil range he brings so many intangibles to that team to deserve more.

  3. ewampus - Jun 7, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    I like lamp

  4. stakex - Jun 7, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    The real problem with Letang is that he simply isn’t worth the $7.25 million cap hit that he comes with…. which is the 3rd highest cap hit among defensemen in the entire league. While the Pens might explore trading him, I don’t see any way they can do it without eating a fairly large part of that cap hit.

    • c9castine - Jun 7, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      its an 8 year contract signed at a time when the salary cap was 64 million and put into effect when it is approx. 70 million and the league is healthier than ever and that number is going to rise annually.

      doesnt matter what you say – he is a top defender, stanley cup champion and one time norris candidate. that contract is going to be just above average in a couple years.

      do you actually think these ideas through or is your life like a picture book?

    • c9castine - Jun 7, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      also, its the 5th highest, and im willing to bet Subban makes him 6th.

  5. steelhammer92 - Jun 7, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    I want to see what he can do with a new coach and system. He’s already shown he is capable of being an elite offensive defenseman.

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