As the offseason grinds along for the Pittsburgh Penguins, fans continue to wait for full decisions to be made with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.
Both players have put in 16 years of service for the Penguins and are now due for what could be their final contracts in the NHL.
While the discussions between Malkin and the Pens hit new lows, it’s been documented that Letang has taken over as top priority.
It was noted by Elliotte Friedman that Letang and the Pens are only apart by about $1.25 million.
Josh Yohe of the Athletic stated that the discussions between Letang and the Penguins will need to reach some sort of compromise.
The Penguins ideally would like to sign Letang (and Malkin for that matter) to a three-year deal to align with the end of captain Sidney Crosby’s contract.
Letang and his camp believe he can play for another five seasons and is looking for something in the neighborhood of $8 to $9 million.
While there are vast separations between what both sides want in a new deal, Yohe says that Penguins general manager Ron Hextall wants to re-sign Letang.
If a compromise is made, it is safe to assume a new deal would exceed three years and hold some sort of raise from Letang's previous $7.25 million cap hit.
What Letang brings to the table is impossible to replace at this point in time; he is an elite level, right hand shot defenseman who can still play north of 25 minutes a night and pot at least 40-50 points in a season.
Until Letang begins to show signs of slowing down, his age doesn’t mean much.
At 35, a team should be worried about a decline, but Letang thinks he has a lot left in the tank.
Putting up career high numbers in 2021-22 only backs up that statement; in 78 games, Letang scored 10 goals and 58 assists for 68 points while averaging 25:47 minutes of ice time.
The path for a Letang contract remains foggy, but he is emerging as the more likely candidate to be wearing black and gold in 2022-23.
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