One of the first decisions Penguins ownership intend to make once a new GM is in place is what to do with Kris Letang. Unlike former GM Ray Shero who was against any thought of moving Letang before his no trade clause kicks in on July 1, according to sources, ownership is open to the idea.
The issue for the Penguins is that Letang’s trade value is a complete unknown league wide due to the generous contract Shero gave and his health scare last winter. One feeling around the league is that if the Penguins look to move Letang, it will be more for clearing his cap hit with a return centered around top draft picks, prospects.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post floated one Letang trade idea out there today in his weekly “Slap Shot” column, Kris Letang to the New York Islanders in-exchange for the 5th overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Brooks Writes: “So the Penguins are seeking an infusion of young talent. And Snow has made it known that the Islanders are willing to deal the fifth-overall pick in next month’s draft. And Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang’s no-move/no-trade clauses do not kick in until July 1 on a contract that runs through 2021-22 at a cap hit of $7.25 Million per. Perhaps a place to start for both franchises.” — Larry Brooks —
For the Islanders it would make a lot of sense. They struggle to land premier players in free agency, and the only real option is via trade. They have to hear all the rumblings that we do in that if the Islanders don’t turn into a consistent winner in the next couple years, John Tavares is not committed to staying past his next contract which ends in four years.
For the Penguins, despite the intrigue of clearing Letang’s cap hit and giving them over $20 million in cap space this summer, another asset would need to be coming their way in my opinion, notably a young NHL roster play/top prospect or at least the Islanders second round pick at 35th overall.
Right now Pittsburgh has just has one draft choice (Round 1, No. 22) in the first 112 picks of the 2014 dtaft.