June 5, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) controls the puck past the check of Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton (18) during the second period in game three of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Is Kris Letang On His Way Out Of Pittsburgh?


 

The Pittsburgh Penguins are reportedly aiming to re-sign star defenseman Kris Letang — but are they really?

Having just re-signed Evgeni Malkin to a long-term contract, the Pens don’t have a lot of money to spend here, so when they do they must use it wisely.

Letang has been a stud since joining Pittsburgh in 2007, but because the team has an outstanding plethora of defenseman in the system (Derrick Pouliot, Olli Maatta, Scott Harrington) — it’s going to be hard to keep him.

According to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Letang’s agent told the Pens he wants to stay in Pittsburgh, but will he take a pay cut like Malkin and Sidney Crosby did?


Letang is coming off a phenomenal year.  One that landed him a Norris nomination for the first time in his career.

Unfortunately the whole point of being a defenseman is to be a defenseman.  The offensive numbers are through the roof for Letang but he failed to protect their own zone — and that’s a problem.

It’s a dilemma because the Pens need defense, not offense.

However, should Letang proceed to accept less money to stay with Pittsburgh it’ll hopefully allow the team to re-sign other unrestricted free agents.

Specifically Pascal Dupuis — whom Crosby prefers as his right-winger.

It’s going to be hard to let someone of Letang’s caliber walk though.

This past season, Letang posted 38 points (5G, 33A) in 35 games and averaged a team-high 25:38 minutes per game.  Not to mention he registered 16 points (3G, 13A) in 15 postseason contests as well.

He’s already one of the top defenseman in the entire NHL, he’s young, and Pens General Manager Ray Shero knows it:

“He certainly is a key player for us.  He’s a young player.  I do believe that the best days of his career are ahead of him.”

When you’re talking about the Pens and their moves to help the team — expect the unexpected.

We’ll have to see how it all plays out, but hopefully he remains in the burgh’ for years to come.

 

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