Star defenseman Kris Letang is an “untouchable” going into the April 3rd trade deadline and he is going nowhere, but Letang’s situation gets interesting this summer when the Penguins plan to open up preliminary trade talks on a new mega deal. The question is what type of value you put on Letang? The view around the league is that Letang is widely regarded as a $7 to $8 million a season player. Letang is currently making $3.5 million.
While I was driving into the office this morning, I caught some of Darren Dreger’s interview on The Fan Morning Show and he was raving about Letang putting him in the same category as Erik Karlsson. Dreger claimed Letang doesn’t “get the credit he deserves” and I agree with that, and when discussing Letang’s value, Dreger said “he’s better than Drew Doughty.” Doughty by the way carries a $7 million cap hit and is in the second year of an 8 year, $56 million contact.
Dreger is not a general manager but you can bet how high he regards Letang is how a number of general managers and executives view Letang.
Talk of the Penguins considering the possibility of trading Letang is not warranted until the Penguins get a sense of whether he intends to test the open market. If they feel that where’s things could be headed when discussions open this summer and feel he has his sights set on Montreal where he lives in the summer, then we might have a Jordan Staal situation on our hands again and teams would be lining up to trade for Letang this summer.
For now disregard any trade talk centering around Letang and ridiculous talk on the Internet of whether the Penguins should move Letang to wing.
Meanwhile, denials continue from anybody connected to the situation about the Jack Johnson to Pittsburgh rumors. Dreger also squashed those rumors, saying “as of yesterday been told Jack Johnson rumors are false.”
A Penguins source told me Johnson is not expected to be a target at the trade deadline as the Penguins have no plans to add a big salary until they have clarity on the Letang situation and how much Evgeni Malkin is going to cost.