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Pens’ Letang already faces intense trade speculations following playoff elimination

Could the veteran defenseman be part of a monster trade?

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The Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t had to clean out their dressing room this earlier since the spring of 2015, and the sight of the players doing so and answering tough questions instead of celebrating a Stanley Cup is quite the odd sight for the fan base. 

Another thing that is odd and unusual are the many trade speculations already surrounding star players like forwards Phil Kessel and Derick Brassard, and veteran defenseman Kris Letang. The trade chatter has intensified so much that the defender himself had to make something clear on Wednesday when meeting with the media. 

"I sacrifice everything for this team. I want to spend the rest of my career here.”

The blue liner’s comments got to the ears of head coach Mike Sullivan and general manager Jim Rutherford who also had to answer the tough questions on the future of Letang in Pittsburgh. 

"It's obvious that I'm going to keep an open mind to making some changes,” explained GM Rutherford in his press conference. "I’m going to make some changes. I can't tell you who that's going to be right now. We're a good team. We will be a good team moving forward. We will have a chance to win again."

Sullivan also commented on his star defensemen’s season and the ups and downs he faced all year long. 

"He had stages of the year where he was really good for us and stages where he wasn’t at his best. By no means does it diminish what we think of Kris as a player. He's a guy that we think is certainly one of the elite defensemen in the league."

It remains to see what it means for Letang’s future with the team that selected him in the third round, 62nd overall back in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The 31-year-old still has four years left on his current contract, which holds a modified no-trade clause. 

Letang had admitted on Monday he made a mistake in Saturday night's Game 5 loss to the Capitals that allowed the winning goal to be scored. It is good to see that the veteran blue liner is able to admit his mistakes and could potentially convince the Pens management - if need be - to keep him as part of the core group for seasons to come.