The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Kris Letang to a four-year contract extension, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The new contract goes into effect at the start of the 2010-11 season and will run through 2013-14
More surely to come as news breaks, but this definitely is a positive to keep a young key contributor around for the next four seasons.
TSN is reporting the average salary (cap hit) will be $3.5 million a season.
Letang, who will turn 23 years old next month, has already played 223 NHL regular season games (and 39 more in playoff action). That kind of experience is almost unheard of for a defenseman. It was expected that Letang would blossom this season offensively, after he scored 13 points in 22 playoff games last spring, but that hasn't been the case.
However lately he's played some very strong hockey and is on a "shutdown" defensive unit with Brooks Orpik that often matches up against the opposition's best forwards. Letang also has a special skill-set on the shootout, he's 4 for 10 this season with 3 "Game deciding" goals.
A $3.5 million cap hit for Letang represents a raise of $2.665 million on the salary cap. The Penguins, tight to the cap as it is, are going to have to account for that. Does that have ramifications for Sergei Gonchar? It sure seems like it.