As I reported earlier this week, the Penguins brass have begun to formulate a plan for their large group of unrestricted free agents and key restricted free agents.
The Penguins intend to begin negotiations next month with “targeted players” and winger Pascal Dupuis has been tabbed as the Penguins top priority.
However, 25 year old rookie Mark Letestu is not too far behind Dupuis on the Penguins wishlist of players to lock up to extensions this season.
I am confirming a report by Andy Strickland of Truehockey.com that the Penguins have indicated to Letestu that they would like to workout an extension this season.
However, I’m told no timetable for negotiations to begin has been established but in talking to sources this afternoon, negotiations are likely to begin in January.
According to a league source, Letestu’s agent Allain Roy is optimistic and “hoping” to begin talks in Janauary, “if the Penguins are ready, ” a source tells Inside Pittsburgh Sports.
Letestu is a restricted free agent at seasons end and making a salary of $500,000 this season. He has 6 goals and 8 assists on the season and is 53.0% on faceoffs.
He is seeking a two year deal.
The Penguins have seen enough from Letestu where the team fills he could be a long-term fit as the 3rd line center.
The other key Penguins restricted free agent is Tyler Kennedy whose having a strong year. Kennedy is a player the Penguins fully intend to keep around but there’s been no indication to this point if the team intends to begin talks with him next month.
Letestu figures to be an easy negotiation due to the mutual interest. Kennedy also figures to be a much easier sign for cap reasons than for example Max Talbot is expected to be. That will have to play into the back of the Penguins mind.