After all this haggling for about a year now over the Penguins being stingy on term and not wanting to offer Kris Letang more than 3-4 years at the max, the team at the end of the day decided to operate like a team that internally still believes it can contend for a Stanley Cup in the next season or two.
Hence, the Penguins today officially announced the resigning of 35 year old Kris Letang to a six year, $36.6 million contract that carries an AAV of $6.1 million. Letang will be 41 at the end of the contract and receives a Full No Move Clause for the first 4 years of the contract.
PENGUIN FOR LIFE!
The Penguins have agreed to terms with defenseman Kris Letang on a six-year, $36.6 million contract extension.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 7, 2022
The Penguins in the team release call Letang a “Penguin for Life”.
“Kris epitomizes what it means to be a Pittsburgh Penguin,” said Ron Hextall in the team release. “The role he plays on our team is irreplaceable, he is a leader in our locker room, and has made countless contributions to the organization over the last 15-plus years which incudes Three Stanley Cup Championships. We are thrilled to make him a Penguin for life.”
Letang will make $22.2 million in the first three years of the deal, $14.4 million in the final three.
The front-loaded six year extension shows Hextall and Co made this such a tougher negotiation than it needed to be by deciding through ownership pressure and other factors to live for the now as Letang’s cap hit goes from $7.25 million to $6.1 million.
Hextall has to know he doesn’t have the benefit of doubt to try to re-tool on the fly in a conservative way like he sold to the Lemieux group in February of 2021 as the new ownership group will jump at the chance to restructure the front office eventually into an analytic, win-shares philosophy type FO if this team isn’t a Cup Contender in the present.
The million dollar question now is does Hextall come out of this summer actually improving the team or does the team try to bring most of its parts back.
There’s around $15 million in cap space before decisions/answers on the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Kasperi Kapanen (RFA), Danton Heinen (RFA) and UFA’s Rickard Rakell and Evan Rodrigues who the Penguins have interest in resigning.