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Is Kris Letang the Penguins’ latest, “PIT must move player X for Crosby/Malkin’s sake” player?

I never know what to make of the Pittsburgh Penguins press's, "Penguins must move core player X to make room for Malkin/Crosby" chatter as it's practically a rite of late spring and early summer, but TSN's Insider Trading gents suggested that Penguins defenseman Kris Letang may be on the move if he doesn't agree to a reasonable contract extension, and, via the Score, the Pittsbrugh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi suggests that Letang is all but on the trading block:

Discussion with Dupuis' agent, Allan Walsh, started this week. Letang's agent, Kent Hughes, had yet to hear from Shero as of Tuesday.

That is no accident. Shero is fairly confident Letang has become a must-move player.

That is true because Letang is not the consensus best defenseman on the Penguins, at least in the eyes of management and coaches.

That is true because the Penguins are deepest on defense among top prospects, including a couple of first-round picks from last summer (Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta).

That is true even though terms of Malkin's new contract will provide the Penguins with more cap room to keep good players around him and Crosby — if the cap increases annually under this labor contract, as it did during the last one.

The Penguins are set up for Letang to count around $6 million against the cap and to continue paying Crosby ($8.7 million), Malkin ($9.5 million), right winger James Neal, Martin and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury ($5 million apiece). Evidence of that was their offer to Staal, who would have counted about $5.75 million annually against the cap had he stayed — and that was with Letang taking up $3.5 million in space.

Letang, 26, a first-time Norris Trophy (top defenseman) finalist, aims to at least double his current salary on any new deal. He was the only NHL defenseman to average a point per game during the regular season. He is in his prime.

Continued, and Letang earns $3.5 million per Capgeek.

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Comments

perfection's avatar

i’d sure take him…

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 06/19/13 at 12:27 PM ET

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I hope they can keep him. There were noticeable times during the past two seasons when the PowerPlay, in particular, struggled when he wasn’t back there to carry it into the zone and setup shop. Does his game have flaws, sure, but not as many as the rest of the D-core…

Posted by penguinsfan on 06/19/13 at 12:30 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

he is Horrible on the PP, Martin is a Better QB from the point than Letang & then there is the Brain Farts

Posted by Evilpens on 06/19/13 at 12:34 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Does his game have flaws, sure, but not as many as the rest of the D-core…

Flaws do not equate to $7 million a year demands.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 06/19/13 at 01:03 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Exactly & given what Dallas Gave Gonchar & what Phillthy gave Streit 7 Million is the cellar what he will get

Posted by Evilpens on 06/19/13 at 01:18 PM ET

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Flaws do not equate to $7 million a year demands.

You may want to check out the list of players who make more than $7M a year (and the list of players with cap hits over $7M, for good measure).

Posted by Garth on 06/19/13 at 05:05 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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