Penguins' Shero talks with Letang's agent
Ray Shero is about to crunch some numbers.
He is set to work on a contract proposal for defenseman Kris Letang, who soon will enter the final year of his current deal.
Shero met with Letang's agent, Kent Hughes, in Boston on Wednesday morning before the annual NHL general manager meetings at the Stanley Cup Final.
“We had a general meeting, and it was a good start,” Hughes said, adding there will be more meetings with Shero.
Hughes told Shero that Letang wishes to remain with the Penguins, for whom he has played regularly since 2007. Shero needed to hear that before bringing an offer to Hughes and Letang.
Shero was not available for comment. He has said keeping Letang remains the preferred option, though the Penguins have not ruled out trading Letang if he rejects a long-term contract offer. They did similarly with Jordan Staal last year, moving him at the NHL Entry Draft after he declined a 10-year contract for between $57-$60 million (total).
Letang, a first-time Norris Trophy (top defenseman) finalist, projects to at least double his current $3.5 million annual salary if he hits the unrestricted free-agent market in July 2014.
He can sign a new contract at a max-length of eight years July 5, which marks the official start date for the new season. The labor contract agreed upon by the NHL and its Players' Association in January allows for teams to re-sign their own players for eight years, but players can sign only seven-year contracts if they depart their current clubs as free agents.
Keeping Letang, 26, is a salary-cap challenge for Shero, who has committed to long-term contracts with franchise centers Sidney Crosby (12 years/$104.4 million) and Evgeni Malkin (eight years/$75 million). Those deals included full no-movement clauses for the players.
Letang, the only NHL defenseman to average a point per game last season, also seeks a full no-movement clause.
The Penguins believe their ability to consistently build around Crosby and Malkin would be limited, especially in a salary-cap system, if a third player held a full no-movement clause on a long-term deal such as the one sought by Letang.
Shero and Hughes had not discussed a new contract for Letang before Wednesday.
Shero is involved in discussion with Allan Walsh, the agent for winger Pascal Dupuis — one of seven Penguins players eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. Dupuis, 34, is coming off two seasons over which he scored 45 goals, and he is the preferred right winger for Crosby.
Dupuis is projected to double his current $1.5 million salary on any next contract, either with the Penguins or another club. Dupuis and Walsh met Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.