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What Would It Take To Keep Letang In Pittsburgh?

Kris Letang will have UFA status July 2014.

from Craig Custance of ESPN (paid subscription),

As of Thursday afternoon, Letang's camp hadn't heard from Shero but anticipated that negotiations would get serious within the next week.

In his comments to the media on Thursday, Shero made it clear that his priority is to sign Letang, but he didn't completely rule out a trade. It's going to come down to negotiations and how much of a discount Letang is willing to provide Pittsburgh to stay with that group. If he hits the market, his ticket would be huge.

As a free agent, the starting point would be $7-8 million per season at max length. To stay in Pittsburgh, it may have to be an eight-year deal closer to $6.5 million. Letang understands that the best deal will come on the open market; it's just finding out how big the difference is going to be. Those are conversations the two sides still need to have. And executives around the league will be watching closely.

The feeling from those I spoke with on Thursday is that Letang will sign an extension with Pittsburgh. It's a similar situation to Staal in that the best move would be to trade him if there's not a deal to be struck, but it's different in that the Penguins don't have two other world-class defensemen already on the roster the way they did at center last year.

"He's just entering the prime of his career," one Western Conference executive said of Letang. "He's an impact defenseman who generates offense, plays on your power play and is a competitive guy. They're going to try to get something done. These are hard players to find."

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
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Comments

Evilpens's avatar

The feeling from those I spoke with on Thursday is that Letang will sign an extension with Pittsburgh. It’s a similar situation to Staal in that the best move would be to trade him if there’s not a deal to be struck, but it’s different in that the Penguins don’t have two other world-class defensemen already on the roster the way they did at center last year.

Who has this Clown (Spoken with inside) the Pens OrganIzation ? nobody ! Letang is gone Martin is the better all around D Man & is a Better PP QB than Letang who is incredibly talented , But he makes ridiculous mistakes. They have Simon Despres & Derek Pouliot coming through the system

Posted by Evilpens on 06/14/13 at 01:07 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

You know, you’d think it’s GM’s jacking up the price, but writers are the ones framing the narrative.  If Letang’s looking for max term, it must mean he doesn’t think he can do any better.  If he can’t get any better he doesn’t command 7m. 5-6max is what he’s worth, Letang isn’t worth what Suter is, bottom line.  He’s a big fish in a small pond in Pitt on a thin blueline.  Pen’s would be better off to let him walk given what they have tied up in Thid and Eugene

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/14/13 at 02:34 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 06/14/13 at 02:07 PM ET

Despres and Pouliot are good, EP…but, man, Letang is an all-world talent. Maybe one of the top 5 defensemen in the league. He still has some growing up to do, but so does a 26-year-old that got signed to an extension by the Pens a couple of days ago.

Besides, the cap will be back up to $70 million in 3 years or so…and that $6.5 million will look like a deal if that’s what they can get him for.

Note: I’m a Letang fanboy and will be heartbroken if they trade him (haha).

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 06/14/13 at 02:51 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) all world talent, All World moron hockey sense wise

Posted by Evilpens on 06/14/13 at 03:08 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

you have two types of successful D-men.  Letang has good numbers.  Look who his forwards are though.  Do you think his forwards are successful BECAUSE of Letang, like Yzerman said they were because of Lidstrom?  Or does he get points because he gives the puck to Syd and Syd beats everyone?

Kronwall puts up points too, but the Wings aren’t about to pay him 7.5m for max term.  There’s more to hockey than points and even then you have to know where they’re generating from and I don’t think Letang is the generator.

However, who else does Pitt have?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/14/13 at 03:14 PM ET

Avatar

Letang isn’t worth what Suter is, bottom line. 

Agree.  He’s better than Suter.

Kronwall puts up points too, but the Wings aren’t about to pay him 7.5m for max term.

If Kronwall put up as many points as Letang, they would and they should.

The last three years Kronwall has 31 goals and 71 assists in 207 games.
Letang has 23 goals and 107 assists in 168 games.  On a per game basis, this means Letang has put up around 28% more points than Kronwall over the same period of time.

And, oh yeah, Letang is 6 years younger.  And better defensively.  And improving offensively.  And producing offensively in the postseason   (25 points the past three years in 28 postsesaon games to Kronwall’s 10 points in 30 postseason games the past three years)

This isn’t to bag on Kronwall.  He’s a good player and making what he deserves (and what I predicted he would make before he signed the deal).  The reality is, Kris Letang is a legit #1 dman who has an offensive game, to boot.  There are roughly 7 of those guys in the whole NHL.

It’s okay to hate the Pens, but come on.  A little perspective.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/14/13 at 03:38 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

The reality is, Kris Letang is a legit #1 dman who has an offensive game, to boot.  There are roughly 7 of those guys in the whole NHL.

Boy have you got that wrong, he’s pure offense.  To act like he’s a top defender is a joke.  The guy makes a ton of mistakes.  If it wasn’t for the offense he’d be a nobody.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 06/14/13 at 03:48 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Letang isn’t worth what Suter is, bottom line.

Agree.  He’s better than Suter.


Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/14/13 at 04:38 PM ET

No isnt he isnt. Letang is average defensively and that’s being generous.

Posted by LiteWork on 06/14/13 at 04:05 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Despres and Pouliot are good, EP…but, man, Letang is an all-world talent. Maybe one of the top 5 defensemen in the league. He still has some growing up to do, but so does a 26-year-old that got signed to an extension by the Pens a couple of days ago.

Besides, the cap will be back up to $70 million in 3 years or so…and that $6.5 million will look like a deal if that’s what they can get him for.

Note: I’m a Letang fanboy and will be heartbroken if they trade him (haha).

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Milford, CT on 06/14/13 at 03:51 PM ET

Top 5? Karlsson, Doughty, Keith, Suter, Pietrangelo, Weber, Subban, Seabrook, Chara etc.

Posted by LiteWork on 06/14/13 at 04:08 PM ET

Avatar

Boy have you got that wrong, he’s pure offense.  To act like he’s a top defender is a joke.  The guy makes a ton of mistakes.  If it wasn’t for the offense he’d be a nobody.

The problem is that when a guy has to focus on both offense and defense, both are harder.  If all Letang had to do was play defense, he’d be better at it.  The problem for him is that he’s pretty much the only offensive option on the Pens blueline.  Martin’s got a decent but not exceptional offensive game.

That aside, if you factor in IT Letang wasn’t on the ice for more GA at ES than many other Pens blueliners, and I don’t think you could describe Martin and Orpik as sub par defenders.

And do you know what?  That number has been getting better each year.  Because Letang is only 26 and he’s still improving.

No isnt he isnt. Letang is average defensively and that’s being generous.

Top 5? Karlsson, Doughty, Keith, Suter, Pietrangelo, Weber, Subban, Seabrook, Chara etc.

You’ve got to do some explaining if you think Letang is somehow inferior to Karlsson, or Subban, or Seabrook or Suter.  Karlsson and Subban are really similar players in terms of style, and both Seabrook and Suter are as flawed offensively as Letang is defensively.  I don’t think he’s a top 5 dman either, but holy hell.  And, hey, he actually shows up in the playoffs.  That’s sort of important.

I mean, Timmonen and Green make 6+.  James bleeping Wisniewski makes 5.5.  You want to try and tell me Letang isn’t worth more than those guys?  Come on.  Yandle, who’s really similar to Letang as well, got 5.25 on an RFA deal.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/14/13 at 07:09 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Keith, Suter, Weber, Chara…yes.

Doughty? Maybe.

Karlsson? Letang is absolutely better than Karlsson. More physical and, defensive liabilities and all, he’s better defensively.

Subban…meh. He’s pretty good, though. Not sure I’d put him above Letang.

Pietrangelo is a good one, too. But is he really one of the top 5 d-men? I think I’d still put Letang above him for now.

Seabrook, no.

All things considered, I’d put him in the top 5 defensemen in the league. Personal opinion.

all world talent, All World moron hockey sense wise

Posted by Evilpens on 06/14/13 at 04:08 PM ET

Still only 25…and he was better in the ECF where they got swept. I think he tries to do too much back there sometimes to generate offense…and it bites him in the ass.

Still room to grow, still room to mature. Whether he does it or not is a completely different story…but the potential is more than there.

Again, huge Letang fan here…so everything I say should probably be taken with a grain of salt (or a billion).

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 06/14/13 at 08:50 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

How about this: They can’t give him the money he wants long term right now, so instead of going 8 years, $6.5 million per…they do a 2 or 3 year deal that averages around $5 or $5.5 million and tell him, “Hey…the cap is going to go up and we’ll give you that extra million or two when we negotiate the next extension.”

Might work? Especially if he WANTS to stay.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 06/14/13 at 09:03 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.

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