Kukla's Korner

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Starting a rumor the old-fashioned way

This is a bit loony. Among reports that the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist will get down to talking contract extension turkey from ESPN New York's Katie Strang and a suggestion from Comcast Sportsnet Northeast's Joe Haggerty that Nathan Horton may take a slight "hometown discount" to remain with the Bruins, this bizarro-land style report from TSN hits:

If Norris Trophy-nominated defenceman Kris Letang can't come to a long-term deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins, his preferred landing spot would be with the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Speaking to Jim Tatti and Mike Hogan on TSN Radio 1050's Game Night on Wednesday, Rossi explained why such a scenario could take shape.
 

"Kris is a little bit curious about where he stands long range in the Penguins' plans," he told TSN Radio. "He has read reports of mine that there are people within the Pittsburgh organization that thought Paul Martin was the better defenceman last year, and there has been a sort of a hesitation on a willingness to commit to him (Letang) to a long-term deal at elite defenceman money.

"I've been told that if the Penguins couldn't reach some sort of understanding with Letang, and the belief was they wouldn't be able to sign him to some sort of deal, that Toronto has emerged as a preferred landing spot - perhaps by Letang. It would be a place that he would be willing, if dealt, to perhaps sign a long-term deal."

Where possible trades are concerned, Letang himself has no final say on who his next team would be. Rossi made it clear, however, that Pittsburgh remains keenly interested in signing Letang to an extension.

"General manager Ray Shero has been very public since the lockout ended that he wants to retain Letang, but the Penguins have committed a lot of money to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and they have also committed no-movement clauses to both of those players," he explained. "They're very deep in their system on defence."

Rossi wasn't done, because he then went on the Fan 590--Toronto's other sports mega-station--and said the same damn thing:

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review makes it crystal clear defenceman Kris Letang’s preference is to stay and play for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Again: He is NOT looking to leave Pittsburgh.

...

But, the sources continued, the Penguins would be seeking an NHL-ready player under contract, at least one top prospect and a potential first round pick.

The Trib’s Rob Rossi was on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Wednesday evening discussing his story. Important to note for Leafs’ fans is that Rossi made sure to reiterate he’s not saying the Leafs have spoken with the Penguins. Also, just because Toronto might be Letang’s preferred destination, that doesn’t mean this trade would happen. The Penguins want something they could be swayed by.

Nonetheless, the days leading up to Sunday’s draft have just become infinitely more interesting for Leafs fans who are already anxiously awaiting Dave Nonis’s next move.

If you want to listen to Rossi's rambles, TSN's podcast feed and the Fan 590's audio on demand page should direct you to his interviews.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com