Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Latest Pens Rumblings: Stars interested in Letang; Tampa considering big play?; Canucks/Neal

Victor+Hedman+iw5rKDl5qRUm LATEST ON LETANG
Penguins GM Ray Shero is saying all the right things in how his focus is on resigning Kris Letang and not trading the 26 year old defenseman. That is true and the Penguins remain hopeful of working something out, but the Penguins have also begun the process of laying the groundwork to see what’s out there, holding preliminary discussions with teams interested in Letang and teams the Penguins see as attractive trade partners.
Trade talks have been deemed to just be in the feeling out process to this point from the Penguins end, but could turn serious in the next 24-36 hours if there’s no traction in talks this afternoon between Shero and Kris Letang’s agent Kent Hughes. Shero and Hughes planned to hold a face to face meeting late afternoon.
Since the Penguins made their eight year offer to Letang on Wednesday, they have not made a new revised offer and the ball is in Letang’s court now. Some in the organization feel the issues at hand isn’t all about the money gap which is about $7 to $8 million in the total value of the contract.
Sources say one of them is the relationship between Letang and head coach Dan Bylsma. A league source says Letang is not a big fan of playing for Bylsma and there’s been some animosity developing between the two since the 2012 post-season vs the Flyers. Letang was also not happy about being removed from the No. 1 power play unit during some parts of this past regular season.
The Penguins know they are dealing with a sensitive player and feel some of these issues that Letang had or might have, can be resolved.
“He’s {Kris} worth waiting on in terms of making the right decisions and have all the information,” Shero said. “There’s a time to make a deal. To sign a player, there’s also time you realize that you can’t. That’s not apparent to me right now.”
I believe Shero is genuine in that he doesn’t want to trade Letang, but he was saying all the same stuff about Jordan Staal even hours before the Penguins moved Staal on draft day.
*One team emerging with very strong interest in Letang is the Dallas Stars, NHL sources say, and it’s considered a team Letang would likely sign with. New Stars GM Jim Nill holds Letang in very high regard and has the “OK” from ownership to spend close to the cap for future years. Not sure there’s a deal there that would interest the Penguins were Shero to put Letang on the trade block in the next 24 hours, but the Stars do hold the No. 10 overall pick. Philadelphia willing to move the No. 11 overall pick, also has very strong interest in Letang.
*Some chatter around the league is the Tampa Bay Lightning possibly dangling Victor Hedman in a potential deal for Letang.

Heard this for the first time today and it could have some legs. I have to imagine this would get the Penguins attention. Hedman, 22, is signed through 2016-2017 season with a cap hit of just $4 million. Tampa’s been rumored to be dangling Hedman to Colorado for the No. 1 overall pick and a defenseman in return.
*Along with the Anaheim Ducks, the Vancouver Canucks have also been mentioned as a team of interest out West for the Penguins in potential trade talks with Letang. That said, there’s been rumblings of a James Neal – Alex Edler potential deal being discussed but a team source says there’s nothing going on there.
The Penguins are listening on any player not named Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby, but moving Neal is not in their plans.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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