The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed defencemen Kris Letang to a four-year contract worth $3.5 million a year.
The 22-year-old has three goals and 24 assists in 67 games while averaging 21:30 minutes of ice time per game.
Letang is a young defenceman who was a member of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup wining team last season.
At only 22, Letang has yet to hit his peak and will continue to get better as he gains more experience.
Letang is a tremendous skater and will be expected to pick up the slack on the offensive end as his career sets off.
The re-signing of Letang COULD spell the end of Sergei Gonchar’s stint in Pittsburgh. With so much money put into Crosby,Staal, Malkin and Fleury, it is unlikely Pittsburgh Ray Shero will try to re-sign Gonchar.
The only way I see it going down is if Gonchar takes a pay cut and at 36 years of age he may be willing.
With Goligoski and Letang on the rise, Pittsburgh has two young players to anchor their defence core.
Along with Gonchar, Jay Mckee and Mark Eaton are also unrestricted free-agents as their contracts expire after this season.
While both are good defencemen, both are replaceable so I think Shero will sign one of them or neither of them.
And if your thinking a good showing in the playoffs will help their cases, think again. As we saw with Hal Gill who was left to test free agency after the Pens won the Cup (how’s seventh place!), that means little to Shero.
Eaton is a $2 million cap hit while Mckee’s contract is $800,000 per year.
Next time we take a look at the forwards!
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Written by Amit Mann