| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Letang uneasy about status with Penguins

Penguins/NHL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Related Stories

Rob Rossi podcasts

  • Loading...

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 11:03 p.m.

Kris Letang prefers to play for the Penguins.

He also prefers to play for a team that believes he is its best defenseman.

Letang, coming off his first Norris Trophy (top defenseman) nomination, has grown uneasy about his standing within the organization, sources said Wednesday.

The Tribune-Review recently reported that some members of management and coaches rated Paul Martin as the club's best defenseman last season.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero remains high on Letang, especially his upside.

He repeatedly has stated a desire to work out a long-term contract with Letang, 26.

However, Shero has not ruled out any option, including a trade.

Letang does not have a full- or limited-movement clause in his contract, and he has not requested a trade.

He reiterated Wednesday that his focus is on working out a new contract with the Penguins.

However, Toronto has emerged as a potential destination if there is a breaking point with the Penguins, the sources said.

To trade Letang, the Penguins would seek the return of an NHL-ready player under contract, at least one top prospect and a potential first-round draft pick, the sources said.

Last summer, Shero traded center Jordan Staal at the NHL Entry Draft after Staal informed of his intention not to sign a long-term contract.

The Penguins landed Carolina's first-round pick (Derrick Pouliot), center Brandon Sutter and defensive prospect Brian Dumoulin for Staal.

The next Entry Draft is Sunday, but Shero has said there is no immediate timetable to make a final call on Letang's future.

He also has said the situation with Staal last summer set no precedent to trade Letang.

Letang's agent, Kent Hughes, said he and Shero are “still talking.”

“No resolution at this point,” Hughes said.

Letang tied for the NHL lead among defensemen with 38 points despite missing 13 games.

He was first among defensemen and ninth overall with 16 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

He and centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held without a point in a sweep in the Eastern Conference final.

Penguins coaches told Letang that his Games 3 and 4 at Boston rated highest among any he played in the postseason.

Set to enter the final year of his deal, Letang can negotiate a new contract and sign it July 5, when the new NHL calendar year begins.

Letang will count $3.5 million against the Penguins' salary cap next season. There are 11 defensemen with average annual salaries of at least $6 million.

The Penguins have seven players eligible to become unrestricted free agents July 5.

Shero remains in heaviest negotiations with the representatives for wingers Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke.

Dupuis' agent, Allan Walsh, said he plans to meet with Shero in Newark, N.J., site of the Entry Draft.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Penguins

  1. Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
  2. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  3. Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line with Penguins
  4. Reliving the moment a decade ago that shifted the Penguins' history
  5. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  6. Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
  7. Penguins notebook: Team to have plenty of forward options in camp