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2021-2022GAPTS
CONNOR MCDAVID
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ROMAN JOSI
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KYLE CONNOR
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365692
PATRICK KANE
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504090
NATHAN MACKINNON
325688
ALEKSANDER BARKOV
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NAZEM KADRI
285987
CALE MAKAR
285886

KRIS LETANG REPORTEDLY CLOSE TO A CONTRACT WITH PITTSBURGH

JUL 5, 2022  (16H28)      JON
The Pittsburgh Penguins are in an interesting position this summer. Still pushing their win-now window, they have nine free-agents (2 RFA, 7 UFA) & over $20 million in projected cap space. Pens legends Evgeni Malkin & Kris Letang both need new contracts, both of which have garnered wide speculation. Who the Penguins' brass decide to hang onto has been a looming question for them, but it seems as though one of them could definitely be sticking around.

Dejan Kovacevic of DK Pittsburgh Sports reports that a source informed him Letang is nearing a three-year extension with the Penguins. Without mentioning specifics, Kovacevic suggests the deal could be signed any day now, but he seems confident it will get done:


Letang, 35, had a great season in 2021-22. He produced 10g-58a-68pts in 78 games this season, including four points in 7 playoff games. His underlying numbers were very good as well:

image

It does make sense from a management perspective to prioritize Letang over Malkin this summer. The Pens can't afford another first round exit, and with Malkin's injury history plus his lack of 5v5 production, they might be better off without him. Especially if he demands a high-AAV contract. In Malkin's defense, he only played 41 games this season & managed 42 points, including six points in 7 playoff games. However, only 18 of those 42 points were scored 5v5. Ipso facto, if the Penguins cannot convince Malkin to take a small haircut salary-wise, he likely will not be prioritized.

The Pens' window is closing fast, so they need to act swiftly & decisively in order to field a contender. Letang is their best defenseman, but they might be wise to lock up Evan Rodrigues at a lower cap-hit than Malkin at a high one. Then use that excess savings to add via free agency & trade. Although, the Penguins prospect pipeline is bone-dry. At any rate, Letang & his contract situation will be one to monitor the next week or so, with the Draft in two days & free agency commencing in eight.
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