Updates on Letang and Smith – June 14, 2013.

Will the Penguins re-sign Kris Letang? Can Shane Doan convince Mike Smith to re-sign with the Coyotes?

Kris Letang's future in Pittsburgh uncertain.

Kris Letang’s future in Pittsburgh uncertain.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: In the wake of the Penguins re-signing Evgeni Malkin to a long-term contract, Mike Halford speculates over defenseman Kris Letang’s future in Pittsburgh. GM Ray Shero recently said Letang, who has a year remaining on his current contract, isn’t going anywhere, but Shero admitted some changes could be coming to the franchise.

Halford also cited an article by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review hockey columnist Rob Rossi claiming Letang could seek a new deal between five – eight years in length with a no-movement clause, which could cost between $7 million – $8 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, Letang is the Penguins best puck-moving defenseman and part of their core for several years now. On the other hand, questions over his defensive play and injury history persist, as well as how the Penguins can comfortably absorb his salary.

I don’t expect Letang to be traded, but re-signing him could cost at least $6.5 million per season.  I realize some fans believe Letang should be traded and replaced by a more skilled (and affordable) blueliner like Phoenix’s Keith Yandle, but that’s easier said than done. Without a suitable replacement, the Penguins have little choice but to re-sign him.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reports Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan admitted making a “soft pitch” to teammate and impending UFA goalie Mike Smith about re-signing with the Coyotes. Doan said he didn’t envy the choice facing Smith.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Coyotes ownership situation can be resolved ensuring the club remains in Glendale before July 5, I believe Smith and head coach Dave Tippett (also a pending free agent) will stay. Otherwise, they’ll consider their options elsewhere.

52 Comments

  1. Being a Leaf fan I get the same feeling when I see news about Phx. I imagine That Leaf haters must have when the rumors involve the Leafs…I just don’t care, frustration, embarrassment ect ect just move the damn thing already! It’s not working. Go to a city that wants it, there is no shortage of places that will make money and bend over backwards to get it. Quit being one of the biggest jokes in North American Pro sports! And please Shane Doane quit telling everybody how great it is not every one cares or wants to own a ranch in the desert….

  2. Good luck signing Letang: Crosby 8.7 + Malkin 9.5 + MAF 5 + Neal 5M = 28.2 in 4 players plus Letang is looking to make Doughty type of money.

    • lol just posted after you and i forgot about neal.

      • I’ve read you comment and remembered that I forgot Paul Martin’s 5M so if Letang get’s 7 it will bring to 40M for 6 players.

  3. Doan should be asking Smith, how good do you speak french, because phoenix is going to be relocated and Quebec is a real possibility. Pens half to sign letang, but it is going to cripple them financially with over 30 mil on 4 players. ( crosby, Malkin, Fleury, and letand will make atleast 6 mil)

    • I’m betting Seattle…much easier already got the arena no alignment juggling and the NHL will soak up a huge Expansion fee out of Quebec, once their arena is built.

      • yes, the East is full. PHX will be moving west

      • Seattle doesn’t currently have an arena. The Key arena makes Nassau Coliseum look like a state of the art facility. Theres plans to build one but the owner of the new arena has gone on record as saying he will only build it IF a nba franchise is relocated to Seattle. As of now that isn’t happening. QC can use the Colisseu (sp) until one could be completed

        • Key seats 11-12 k for hockey its old yes but it’s the city that said they will help fund the arena on the condition that an nba team is coming the feeling is from what I have read that they would proceed to fund it for an NHL team aswell along as it was a sure thing that a team was coming, the guy who would build it would do it either way as long as it was partially publicly funded which it would be if they were guaranteed A tenant NBA of course being the first choice. Anyway they could play in key for a year till the new one was built, or Kansas City. Qubec will be expansion if/when they get one.

    • No way the team goes to Quebec. The east already has 2 more teams than the west does in there conference. Seattle seems like the more feasable option. Plus with the NHL finally realigning to a good formation they aren’t about to screw that up.

      • Soon as they figure out what to do with Phx, I think Seattle but Kansas City has a nice arena too, The alignment is going to be screwed up anyway because the nhl will go back to Quebec with its new arena deal its justthe NHL will get a big fat cheque for a franchise fee out of it. From here on out if there are more Canadian teams to come they won’t be relocated here taking away from American markets they will be new franchises it makes the league way more money to expand then it does to relocate which is a easy sell to Canadians.

  4. Smith shoud sign some where he can make the playoffs and have a chance at a cup. He seems like a good guy and Pho will never have a cup run.

  5. Trade Malkin; trade Letang. It is ridiculous to think that much money can be tired up in so few players and you still attract free agents. HOW???

    Malkin to COL

    Letand to EDM

    • Get real. Malkin will be a penguin til he retires. Get over yourself.

      • I remember hearing that about Gretzky, Jagr. Bet they said that about LaFleur, Orr, Esposito, etc

  6. Letang and Pitt’s first round pick to Avs for first overall pick. Then Pitt drafts Seth Jones. Don’t think it would happen but would be a good trade for both teams.

    • pitt was stupid enough to give up their 1st for Iggie who probably wont be back!

      • Was going to be a late first round pick anyways, so it was worth it

  7. I realisticly speaking I believe Bettman did the best job he possibly could have done to keep the Yotes in AZ. I am not advocating for moving them to Canada though. I believe there are other cities out west that are worth a shot ex: Seattle. I believe there is a huge opportunity for the NHL in SEA especially with the relocation of the NBA’s Sonics. It is a big market where hockey has the potential to grow in a colder climate in addition, it also can rival the Canucks immediately with the talent on that roster.

    As for Letang, his situation can be a scary one. He is a player that any team would want but, signing him to a long term contract worth big $ with his injury history is risky. Having so much money tied up in a star studded core can handcuff the future capabilities of Shero to bring in quality depth players. If you look at consistant playoff contenders over the past years; they all have some degree of talent but the ones that make a solid push late in the playoffs have depth. I think Pitt is tip toeing a line with so much money tied up into a handfull of players.

  8. What, you mean Despres isn’t God like announcers seem to think he is?

    I’ll be laughing if the Pens sign Letang for 6+M/Y, cuz they’re going to be the same “no D” team for years to come. Please keep signing your star players. You can win all the art ross trophies, but never the cup.

    • that’s right…offense wins cups…oh, wait

      idk about Crosby or malkin if wingers are dupuis and kennedy. they will not be able to afford winders or solid D-men. they bring in iggie then say he wasn’t fast enough to play with Crosby. then they put him on the 3rd line. then they take Neil off the PP and put iggie there.

      but back to D…Letand and Niskanen playing together. Wow, they worked well!

      fire Byslma, trade malkin, trade letang…get solid prospects and D. malkin is so freakin lazy. he scores one goal but turns over the puck or makes stupid blind passes that lead to the puck going the other way.

  9. Letang will sign with Pens! he is not going anywhere! i sure they will figure it out. they sould Trade MAF instead! he needs to move on!

  10. Shero would be hung in the streets if he traded Malkin. Much easier to trade Letang because even tho he is one of the best in the league, we do have a good number of highly touted D prospects coming up very soon. Another year or 2 and Pouliot will be posting numbers from the blue line. Trade Letang for a top 5 pick, 2 roster players and a prospect

    • You won’t get a top 5 for Letang.

      • Sounds crazy..and really is WAY OUT THERE, but MA Fleury, Letang and 2 3rd RD picks to COL for the 1st overall, Varlamov, Erik Johnson and a 2nd RD pick.

        Pens get caps space to balance out roster and I am sure drafting Seth Jones won’t hurt. Varlamov backs up Vokun. Johnson holds Letangs spot while they figure out to drop him or Martin.

        Roy gets his retool. Fluery gets fresh start and Letang gets his money. COL gets a real QB on the back end.

  11. Letang will not get you a top 5 pick and 2 roster players. Wake up guys. Pitts big problem was on defense. Instead of bringing in Morrow they should of went after a dman. If Fleury doesn’t prove himself this year he will either be traded or bought out after next season. You can’t give 5mil to a goalie who can’t perform in the playoffs.

    • I agree, instead they brought in Murray who was slower than molasses. Pitt does have some young D-men and I think they can sign someone like Sulzer (who I thought has played well for Bflo) at a resonable price. While I think Paul Martin’s salary is high versus what he brings to the table, he probably is a good mentor for Pitt’s younger d-men.

  12. For Pit to keep together they will all have to take a discount. I would like to see Malkin have his own team. He seems to play better with out Crosby around. Pit made their decision last year when they traded Staal. If they kept staal and traded Malkin they would have had a better all round team, better cap friendly and better prospects.

  13. Pitt has signed 2/3’s of their core and they do need to sign Letang or someone of his caliber. Letang is 26 – and I think he is well worth $5-6M (Meyers makes $5.5M and was half the player). The only thing that will effect Letang’s value is his injury history that is why I put him in the $5-6M range. Thing is, if Letang signs for more it won’t effect the overall team salary for 2013-2014. The only other person I could see Pitts signing is Dupuis and I’m sure he would give Pitts the Hometown discount – the ? is – how much is Dupuis worth – to me he is worth a million $ raise – $2.5M. Dupuis plays for a very talented team that really utilizes his skills and has made him a better than average player – my ? would be – would he be as effective on another team?

    • Agreed Letang is Norris caliber D well worth 5-6 million or a little more a year buy out Martin extend Letang deal Flurey before his value drops anymore and find a cheaper option (there will be lots to chose from I’m sure) to split duties with Vokun for a year still leave 1 buyout available for next summer saves some money to find some help on D. They could use a younger guy like Bennet as trade bait to maybe bring in a younger goalie with some upside(Khodobin) to take over in the next couple years or part of a package to upgrade their D ( if Smith was to leave the desert maybe a deal like Bennett Flurey for Yandel and a pick?) as the core of this team isn’t going anywhere in the near future and offense dosent seem to be as much an issue as D or goaltending. He is probably the best bait to improve one of these areas.

      • All that for Smith? Smith is a good goalie but is a huge product of the yotes system – he would never put those numbers up in Pittsburgh, provided he can stay healthy. Plus, the Pens will not deal Bennett as he is the ONLY young prospect they have as a top 6 forward. Don’t be surprised in a couple seasons if Neal is the odd man out.

        • LOL seriously?

  14. Everyone is saying trade letang, trade malkin but wasn’t the big problem goaltending? Fleury is the guy you should be concerned about. A good goalie covers mistakes a great goalie covers a lot of mistakes. LA is a good team but Quick was the reason they got so far. If fleury doesn’t get his game straightened out he has to go and maybe a change of scenery is the answer. Can’t ask for a better year if your trying to aquire a starting goalie.

    • Really? Wouldn’t scoring 2 goals in 4 games be a bigger problem than the goaltending? I’m pretty sure scoring half a goal a game won’t get you many wins!

  15. I think Shero resigned Malkin to an extension because he will be able to get more for him in a trade at next years trade deadline with a contracted for the 2014/15 then he could if he was going to be an URF. This was a long term plan signing. Shero is planning for years to come. not just next season.

    • He got a full no move clause so he controls where he goes, which probably causes more problems and makes the return less then if you had of traded him with a year left on his contract.

  16. why would a team trade a Norris type of dman? That’s right no team in their right mind would do that. This type of dman don’t grw on trees. Better of trading Malkin before moving the quarterback

    • I know right…all of em saying Pitts D sucks and then in the same response say they should trade Letang the guy who could win the Norris, yah that makes a lot of sense. Maybe they could get a bunch of “stay at home” deffensive type d men like O’Byrne and Murray that should help…lol Good puckmoving D that have hockey smarts good shot ect. Don’t just drop out of the sky like snow or rain you keep these type guys to help your D get better. I’m not a Pens fan in fact I pretty much hate them but really trade Letang? That’s just Stupid

    • Doug Harvey, Harry Howell, Red Kelly, Pierre Pilote, Randy Carlyle, Doug Wilson, Chris Chelios, Chris Pronger, Paul Coffey, Ray Bourque, Rob Blake. All traded after winning one or more Norris trophies.

      That’s not including the Norris trophy winners traded before winning the trophy, or those let go via waivers, free agency, or the old compensated offer sheet system (MacInnis, Chara, Johnson, Orr, Robinson, Langway, Niedermayer).

      So this leaves Lidstrom, Karlsson, Keith, Leetch, Potvin, and Laperriere as the only Norris winners to play for a single NHL team. 6 of 24.

      All-star, Norris-esque, puck-moving defensemen don’t grow on trees. But even a Norris trophy winner is more likely to have been or be traded than not. Moving Letang is no worse than a team moving or letting go of Gonchar, Suter (either one), Mark Howe, Boyle, Zubov, Housley, Stevens, Park, etc. If Pittsburgh gets reasonable value in return, then it isn’t a bad trade, in particular if it results in an steady, reliable group of defensemen instead of whatever it is the Pens have now, which is certainly talented but breaks down too often or gets too creative for their own good.

      I don’t claim to have the answer to the Pen’s woes, but I doubt the current combination of defensemen and goalies are the solution. One of the two needs changed.

      Sorry, I do have the answer (assuming Fleury stays): it’s if I could choose imaginary roster additions it would be a unspectacular, highly dependable, safe-decision making, puck-moving D, and someone Rob Scuderi-ish, or, um, Rob Scuderi. For the puck mover I’m thinking of a 40 point d-man, with an ability to get the puck out of the zone cleanly, safely, in as few moves as possible. In my imagination they’re from Finland. I would give up Letang and a draft pick and/or forward for such a combo (or less if they’re a free agent and maybe a top 10 pick) if it just calmed down things in the Pen’s zone. Might even save a buck or two.

      There’s enough fancy, schmancy in the Pen’s forwards. No need to complicate the back end of things – it makes Fleury squirrelly, and they’re keeping him. So the Pens could beat the fancy out of their current D until they play like a cold, heartless machine that does what it is told; i.e. hire the grumpy former Rangers coach as assistant coach of yelling, and just yell at them, 24-7, until they get it.

      Or they could get a new group of defensemen. No simple choice to sacrifice forward depth to give the defense another chance (which hasn’t worked out in a while), or keep forward depth and retool the defense, if you can get the needed defensemen. I like the second option even if it takes two years to come to fruition (and by then, more delicious cap space to be eaten up by free agents) – it will give the Pens the best chance to win over the course of the careers of Crosby and Malkin, which is what Pittsburgh is all about player management-wise.

      Damn this comment just dragged on and on. My apologies. The Pens overall talent is so much greater than their results, I had to vent about it.

      • If Letang ends up winning it this year….how many of those guys were traded the year they won the Norris? Not very many right? Next question how many were trade for significant assets as part of what we would call a rebuild because their team was trending down wards, due to others leaving and them being the only significant asset left to move? Pretty much all of them right? My point being you don’t trade a decent man like that when you are a contender looking to take the final steps to a title, the Pens will be very good for a few more years you don’t trade a Norris candidate away to tweak your d it makes no sense. If anything its one of the first pieces you try to to get and one of the last you give up. So yes they do get traded so do winners of the hart trophy the scoring race ect, ect, but Gretzky Lafluer Roy didn’t get traded to tweak goaltending or Scoring many other reaslnsbut not to improve the position they play.

        • Srry was on another train of thought with that Lafluer thing my bad….lol

          • Very good points about the timing of or reasons for Norris winner trades. I think Letang is the highest value trade possibility on the team and that trading him isn’t the end of the world or the Pen’s hopes. I even think he is deserving of the Norris this year, but he’s still tradable.

            Anyways, the Penguins D needs to change in how they play or who they play because it isn’t working, and it’s making their chosen goalie a nervous wreck.

        • Me, I would resign Letang and then buyout or trade Martin. Thing is, if Gonchar is getting $5M/yr for the next 2 and Martin is making $5M a year – where does Letang sit on the pay scale? I like Letang’s style of play and I think either buying out Martin or trading him – the Pens could look at someone like Clitsome, Sultzer or Ian White.

      • Leetch played for the bruins and leafs after the rangers

        • Thanks! I totally forgot about that. Still can’t mentally picture it but I know it happened.

  17. Letang could easily get that look what we got for Staal last year…and Letang shouldn’t be the quarterback on the power play that should be Paul Martin’s job

    • What??? The only thing Paul Martin should be is bought out. This year was an ok year not a good year for a guy that is a 5 mill per cap hit, last year and the year before was just brutal this guy is definitely not worth what he is getting paid. Dosent hit not hard to play against, sure he can pass pretty good but so can Streit or JM Lyles what you have to say about those dandy contracts?…lol

  18. I don’t disagree the Pens have had a problem with overall team defense, yet that isn’t what cost them the series v. the B’s, nor was it poor goaltending. With the exception of game 2 which was an unmitigated disaster, the Pens did not score. They scored less than half a goal per game factoring in the 2OT loss. Their team d was actually very good in games 3 and 4. It actually wasn’t even that bad in game 1, the 3rd goal in that game was given up after taking chances trying to erase a 2 goal deficit.

  19. I’m not convinced Seattle is the best place for the Phx franchise. On Wednesday the NBC affiliate in Seattle televised “Inside Edition” instead of the Bruins/Blackhawks game. Not a good sign.

    • Better then Phx. I’m sure what was on the NBC affiliate there?…and they have an NHL team with a natural rivalry with Van a pretty good jr. And established hockey team in Spokane It would be 100% better than Phx. And the games they show on TV would be games in their own timezone not 5:00 they would get raitings its I think I read a top ten market and the disposable income there is very high unlike Arizona where the economy is still in rough shape The NHL would do ok there.

  20. Letang a Norris Trophy winner ? He could not crack the Bruins top 4.Ha..

    • Oh hahaha that’s a great one you sure did show them???