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.