The possibility of a trade involving one of the Pittsburgh Penguins' best and longest-tenured players has been very real as of late, but now we have confirmation that he is indeed being discussed in trade talks amongst NHL general managers.
Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos revealed on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday that Kris Letang is being talked about across the league, as Jim Rutherford seeks to shed salary - and his #1 defenseman could very well be the man on the way out.
“One name that I do hear out there that is being bantered about is Kris Letang," Kypreos said. He mentioned the fact that Rutherford would love to free up cap space, and that Letang is a way of doing so.
“Kris Letang has had a horrible season so far,” Kypreos added. “Certainly hasn’t regained some of that magic he had prior to being hurt last season.”
Elliotte Friedman added that if this trade goes down, the price will likely be two forwards - a centerman and a winger. Pittsburgh is known to be searching for a legitimate 3rd line center, and ideally a consistent winger to play with Sidney Crosby.
Trading Letang could fill a hole, but the fact that they won the Stanley Cup without him last season makes this kind of trade easier to digest.
Letang has 25 points in 37 games, but the horrible season Kypreos is alluding to is on the defensive side of things - he just hasn't been the same this year, and what will make this trade difficult is not only the price, but the uncertainty around Letang's ability to bring his game back to form. There's no doubt he can contribute offensively, but he has to be able to do the defensive things he's been known for throughout his career.
He's currently a team-worst -15.