Penguins from A to Z: It will not be easy to replace Chris Letang

With the Penguins’ 2021-22 season coming to a quick finish within the first spherical of the playoffs, Tribune-Evaluation Penguins A to Z, will give each participant a take a look at all 54 particular person NHL contract signatories — together with these whose offers do not begin till the 2022 season. -23 – With the group, potential mid-ranger Niklas Al Mari to prime six winger Jason Zucker.

Chris Letang

Website: defenseman

Shoots: the right

age: 35

to rise: 6 foot

Weight: 201 kilos

2021-22 NHL Statistics: 78 video games, 68 factors (10 objectives, 58 assists).

a necklace: Within the last yr of an eight-year contract with a wage cap of $7.25 million. Ready for the unrestricted free agent this subsequent season.

acquired: third Spherical Draft (No. 74 total), June 22, 2019

(NB: In keeping with Cap Pleasant, Letang’s contract incorporates a no-move clause in addition to a modified no-trade clause that enables him to submit a roster of 18 groups that may settle for the deal. to me.)

acquired: third Spherical Draft (No. 62 total), July 30, 2005

LAST SEASON: When the Penguins signed Kris Letang to an eight-year contract extension throughout their 2013 abroad season, then-general supervisor Ray Sheerow had a short manner of explaining why locking up the defender was so necessary to such a long-term deal.

“A 26-year-old defensive man may be very tough to exchange.”

After 9 years and two generals, the penguins may very well be about to learn the way tough it’s to exchange a 35-year-old defensive man like Litang.

In the course of the 2021-22 marketing campaign, Letang got here up with a profession season within the final yr of that decade. Letang has appeared in all however 4 of Penguins’ video games, and in addition scored a 25:47 icy common time, the fourth-highest within the NHL amongst non-goalkeepers.

Letang season had comparatively few peaks and valleys. The low level was a four-game absence in late October after he examined constructive for covid-19.

With superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin sidelined to open the season after low season surgical procedures, the Penguins have leaned closely on Letang as a stabilizing power through the early phases of the 2021-22 season. That was no extra evident than the 3-2 win in time beyond regulation at dwelling towards the Philadelphia Flyers on November 4th by scoring the successful purpose whereas scoring 28:54 of icy time in 30 rotations.

Working with assistant coach Todd Reirden, Letang has vastly diminished the errors which have traditionally marked his recreation whereas being a outstanding part of each particular workforce unit. As a member of the best energy play unit, he scored a median of three:29 ice per recreation and 1:25 with a penalty kick.

Within the playoffs, Letang appeared in all seven video games of the Penguins’ first-round loss to the New York Rangers. With a median of 29:51 icy time per recreation, Letang scored 4 factors (one purpose, three assists).

the longer term: Negotiations over a potential contract extension between Penguins’ administration and Letang’s agent have continued for just below a yr and have led to restricted progress.

It seems that all events concerned are severe about sustaining a wedding that has been overwhelmingly constructive for 16 seasons.

However the details in regards to the skilled hockey enterprise can get in the best way of these intentions.

In Letang’s view, it could be the final time he was in a position to safe a significant contract in his profession. At present, his wage cap is ranked nineteenth within the NHL among the many defensive linemen. When he signed this contract in 2013, it was the third highest contract within the league in relation to this place.

(NB: Letang’s present contract started with the 2014-15 season. On the time he signed, he had one yr left on his earlier contract that was signed 2010.)

In 2022 there’s a big demand for right-handers (who’re a lot rarer than lefties) who can transfer the disc, put factors and play in nearly each state of affairs. And Letang satisfies all of these qualities.

As for the administration of the penguins, the most important mistake is meant to be within the length of such a contract. Is it smart to offer a 35-year-old a multi-year deal?

(NB: Whereas Letang has a historical past of main well being points – such because the stroke he suffered in 2014 – he has been pretty wholesome up to now three seasons having missed simply 13 of his potential 207 common season video games throughout that point. . is born.)

If the penguins had been separated from Litang, it would not be straightforward to exchange him. In actual fact, it could be inconceivable to take action within the quick sense. There aren’t any inside choices on the suitable facet of the Blue Line able to taking up the myriad duties that Letang undertakes, not to mention the extent he presents.

And so far as free company is anxious, the one right-hand man set to turn out to be an unrestricted free agent providing a recreation as spectacular even from a distance as Letang’s is Dallas Stars participant John Klingberg. And there is not any cause to suppose Klingberg will not get an enormous contract both as soon as the NHL free company signing interval opens on July 13.

It will not be low cost to maintain Kris Letang. However he is in all probability value every part he orders.

Comply with the penguins all season lengthy.

Seth Rorabo is a Tribune Evaluation author. You may contact Seth by way of e mail at srorabaugh@triblive.com or by way of Twitter .