The biggest question revolving the Pittsburgh Penguins this offseason is without a doubt the Kris Letang situation.
With one-year remaining on his contract and a massive pay day given to one Evgeni Malkin, speculation that the Norris Finalist would be dealt this summer intensified slightly Wednesday evening.
According to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, sources told him that should Letang be shipped elsewhere, the 26-year-old would prefer to be dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
— Rob Rossi (@RobRossi_Trib) June 27, 2013
If Letang is ultimately traded, the Pens will undoubtedly demand a strong package in return for the star defenseman.
Rossi reported that — like the Jordan Staal trade — Pittsburgh would most likely want an NHL-ready player who’s under contract, a prospect and a first-round draft choice for number-58.
Some may argue that it’s a steep price for a defenseman that has had a hard time staying healthy in recent years — but Pens General Manager Ray Shero won’t give in to a deal unless he gets what he wants.
Letang, aside from his nagging groin injury this past season, had himself a phenomenal year offensively and will only continue to thrive for years to come.
In 35 regular-season games, Letang collected 38 points (5G, 33A) and skated to a plus-16 rating.
Leading the team in average ice-time during the regular-season with 25:38 minutes, Letang also topped all his teammates with an average of 27:37 minutes on the ice for the postseason as well.
He has played every game of his NHL career with Pittsburgh and still looks to sign a long-term deal with the Pens.
Hopefully Letang won’t don a different sweater next season, but when it comes to the Pens — expect the unexpected.
Stay tuned for more updates towards the Letang quandary.