Letang, Penguins continue contract negotiations

Justin K. Aller

Very publicly, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Kris Letang are trying to negotiate a contract extension. Will it work?

Contract talks between Kris Letang and the Pittsburgh Penguins have heat up. Letang has one more year on his contract for 2013-14 then would be an unrestricted free agent. The Penguins would like to sign him this summer, as they did prevously with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, or look to move on and probably trade Letang, as they had to do with Jordan Staal when he wouldn't accept the team's best long-term offer.

Rob Rossi on the Trib with an update:

Defenseman Kris Letang has rejected one of the largest contract offers in the Penguins history.

Letang declined an eight-year contract that would have paid him around $54 million (total) late Thursday, sources told the Tribune-Review.

However, his agent, Kent Hughes, stressed Letang remains only interested in playing for the Penguins.

"We have exchanged offers," Kent said in a text message. "But (we) have yet to reach an agreement.

"We have not quit."

The Penguins are willing go as high as $7 million annually "with some wiggle room” to keep Letang, the sources said. Letang is looking for $7.5 million annually, sources said.
Elliotte Friedman of the CBC has a twist on the matter:

According to a couple of sources, Letang was hurt and upset by comments made in this article. (For the record, Hockey Night's PJ Stock, who is a summer workout partner of Letang's, is not one of the sources).

What stung most was this passage: "Shero is fairly confident Letang has become a must-move player. That is true because Letang is not the consensus best defenceman on the Penguins, at least in the eyes of management and coaches."

Letang apparently believes someone in the organization was responsible for this and it's poisoned the process.

Whether or not that's true, who knows, but we've seen Letang can be an emotional person and hockey player. Whether a perceived slight by the organization will affect his long-term outlook on where he wants to sign a contract, we'll have to see.

This weekend could determine Letang's professional future- the NHL draft is on Sunday and Shero may look to trade Letang there if the two sides remain apart on a contract.

For now, stay tuned to twitter and we'll watch the rumors swirl and see what actually comes out of it all.

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