With the league gathering together in Vancouver this weekend for the NHL draft, the trade rumors are flowing. Now that Phil Kessel has put the kibosh on a move out of Pittsburgh, has the team shifted towards attempting to move Kris Letang?
The most credible talk seems to have come from The Athletic’s Pierre Lebrun two days ago:
There’s the potential for P.K. Subban and Kris Letang to also move in what would be blockbuster moves, although both could also stay put. All we know is that their respective teams are definitely listening on them. In Letang’s case, while GM Jim Rutherford has been willing to listen this offseason, I think it would have to be a huge offer. He really likes the player. But he’s also in a position where he’s trying to shake up his team a little so he has no choice but to listen.
“No choice but to listen” is fine, the same could be said about just about anyone on the roster. After all, that’s the job of the general manager to know the worth of his players and try to upgrade where possible to make for the best team.
It should also be pointed out that Letang has an 18-team no trade clause. While that’s not quite as restrictive as Kessel’s 23-team list, we all saw how effective that was at preventing a move, which was an aspect almost universally overlooked or ignored by most media sources that float rumors, right up until the point it came into play as stopping a deal that most assumed would just happen. That adds an extra layer of complication to any sort of trade talk, making it even less likely that a deal can be consummated.
Beyond contractual constraints, if you trade this guy though, at a reasonable $7.25 million cap hit how are you going to get better? It presumably would have to be for someone else on this list, which isn’t likely to happen.
Letang being mentioned in trades is certainly nothing new. As a savvy reader, beware of who (and what) you read and put any sort of stock into.
It seems like the media sometimes just goes to the well every year, and one time they will be right. Perhaps that will be this year with Kris Letang. However it doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Penguins goals (win now) to trade one of the best defensemen in the league and think they will be more likely to be successful going in that direction.
That isn’t to say trade talk isn’t happening, and it’s beyond question that Pens’ general manager Jim Rutherford is looking to overhaul the team and make major changes. Roll it all together and it looks unlikely the Pens should spend that much time considering trading Letang unless the perfect offer was presented from the perfect team.