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Insider Only Industry Buzz: Two teams that should gamble on Kris Letang

LATEST ON KRIS LETANG

Nearly four weeks after being swept by the New York Islanders in embarrassing fashion, top decision makers among the Penguins brass are said to be on the same page or at least in the same hemisphere as one source put it regarding Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

As mentioned recently, there’s intrigue among Penguins GM Jim Rutherford & Co to at least see if a feasible trade is out there for Malkin, while rival clubs continue to operate with the mindset that it’s a foregone conclusion Pittsburgh will look at every avenue to trade Phil Kessel and they’ve heard this directly from the Penguins themselves.

Kris Letang, the third member among the core whose future in Pittsburgh has greatly mulled over by the organization, seems to be a bit of a different story.

There are members in the organization, many in the analytic crowd who will die on the hill that Letang is irreplaceable and believe it’s nonsense to trade a player of his talent.

Elsewhere, there’s said to be a great divide among different members of the coaching staff and the front office regarding Letang.

Some talk around the league is in the immediate aftermath of the round 1 ouster, teams believed Rutherford was leaning into the direction that for the Penguins to actually change the way they play, Letang has to be moved this summer.

A couple weeks later now and you start to hear some push back on that but the Penguins are certainly going to at least gauge the market for Letang as the team owes it to themselves.

Letang is immensely talented, has a great care level and is arguably one of the top-10 talented (from a talent perspective) defenseman in the game.

That, however, doesn’t make him one of the top-10 d-men in the game that many in the Pittsburgh media try to peg him as.

He’s not and he’s not even close to one.

That’s why internally the Penguins are having honest discussions about whether being different without Letang like the team was in their 2017 Stanley Cup run and this season in Letang’s absence is enough to draw from in reshaping this roster.

The biggest mystery of all surrounding Letang that we’ll find out in the next six weeks:

With the recklessness in play, the contract and the neck injury that scares quite a few teams, is there any team out there willing to pay close to a premium for Letang?

In gathering information on Letang from evaluators, a consensus has emerged in that Letang could be a great gamble for a team that needs an elite level puck moving defenseman, but most importantly already has a No. 1 shutdown defenseman in place, where as, Letang could slide into a No. 2 pairing role.

Multiple NHL sources last week pegged Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" lines up as a great situation for Kris and a win-win for both sides,” an NHL source said.


TRADE SCENARIO
Kris Letang, 2019 4th round pick to Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

For a Penguins team that wants to become a more structured and smarter team defensively in 2019-2020, Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" is the perfect kind of defenseman without having to break the bank that you should be strongly looking at. He’s a puck moving defenseman with good size, skates well, drives possession and his game has taken off the last two years in emerging as an all situations defenseman. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" plug on the right wing in the top-6 on an entry level deal for the next two years with a likely departure of Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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