WHAT IS LETANG’S WORTH ON A NEW DEAL?
Kris Letang is not among the 50 highest paid defensemen in the National Hockey League. That is soon going to change.
Letang, 26, a Norris Trophy Candidate and currently second in the NHL playoffs in points with 16, has reached the point in his career where he will get to name his own price on a new deal like Ryan Suter last summer. That’s how highly regarded Letang is around the league as GM’s will be chomping at the bit to sign Letang were he decide not to re-up with the Penguins between now and next summer.
Letang is an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2014, and the Penguins are eligible to sign Letang to an extension this summer, but with the Penguins prepared to first sign Evgeni Malkin to a mega-deal, Letang is expected to be the harder sign.
The salary cap will be $64.3 million for 2013-2014 with agents, executives indicating the cap is expected to increase to around $66-$67 million in 2014-2015 and get closer to $70 million by 2015-2016.
The Penguins have $55.182 million committed to 15 players on one-way contracts for 2013-2014 and $23.7 million committed to 4 players for 2014-2015, the year potential new deals for Malkin and Letang would count against the cap.
Throwing out some feelers around the league to those in the industry, many see Letang’s value on a new deal as high as the 7 year, $70-$75 million range on the open market.
“Name me five better defensemen?,” a league executive said of Letang.
What Letang’s agent Kent Hughes will be attacking is the salary structure of recent deals for comparable defensemen. Letang’s camp views the Penguins defender as one of the best and unique defenseman in the game and Hughes will surely look at Ryan Suter’s deal that has Suter making $80 million in the first 8 years when negotiations begin with the Penguins.
That’s a number I can’t see the Penguins going as I believe at the end of the day they will top out around $54-$56 million over 8 years, but there’s no denying Letang is set to become one of the highest paid defensemen whether it’s in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.
TOP 15 HIGHEST PAID DEFENSEMEN IN 2012-2013
NSH 1. Shea Weber – $14,000,000
BUF 2. Tyler Myers – $12,000,000
MIN 3. Ryan Suter – $12,000,000
CHI 4. Duncan Keith – $8,000,000
BUF 5. Christian Erhoff – $8,000,000
PHI 6. Chris Pronger – $7,200,000
FLA 7. Brian Campbell – $7,142,875
CHI 8. Brent Seabrook – $7,000,000
CLB 9. James Wisniewski, – $7,000,000
SJ 10. Dan Boyle – $6,666,666
STL 11. Jay Bouwmeester, Jay – $6,600,000
TOR 12. Dion Phaneuf – $6,500,000
LAK 13. Drew Doughty – $6,500,000
BOS 14. Zdeno Chara – $6,000,000
WAS 15. Mike Green – $6,000,000