It's sounding more and more like there may be a major trade in the works.
Yesterday we touched on a trade rumor that suggested we could be seeing a trade form the Pittsburgh Penguins and general manager Jim Rutherford immediately following the holiday roster freeze, a deal that was reportedly in place but blocked by the NHL's moratorium on trades, but like the trades the Penguins have made earlier this month we expected that would likely be a relatively minor transaction.
Now however the National Hockey League's top insiders are tossing out some huge names and once again Jim Rutherford and his Penguins are the focus of those trade rumors. How huge are the names involved? According to Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos a man who is largely considered one of the top stars in Pittsburgh might be on the trading block.
"One name that I do hear out there that is being bantered about is Kris Letang," said Kypreos as per Fanrag's Chris Nichols. "Kris Letang has had a horrible season so far. Certainly hasn’t regained some of that magic he had prior to being hurt by what, the 41-game mark of last season."
"Now, keep in mind that he has four years left on a very big contract. Pittsburgh would love to shed some salary, and he’s at $7.25 million guys for four more years."
While even just one season ago parting ways with a player like Letang would have been unspeakable, even unthinkable, Kypreos believes that the fact the team found success without him may make him expendable.
"The other factor that might make it a little more comfortable for Jimmy Rutherford to make a trade is they won a Stanley Cup last season without him."
The Penguins have been repeatedly connected to Buffalo Sabres star forward Evander Kane and dangling a player like Letang would certainly have to peak the interest of Sabres general manager Jason Botterill. If these two pieces are involved we would be headed for a blockbuster trade and one that could come as early as this week.
One more note to add here, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman believes that if Letang is traded the Penguins will be looking for a forward in return, just one more factor that points to the possibility of those Evander Kane rumors becoming reality.
"If Letang does go, I think it’s going to be probably for something like two forwards – a center and a winger, impact players,"said Friedman. "That’s what they’re looking for, forwards, I think that’s what he’s looking for in any kind of a Letang deal."
Can the deal that was blocked by the holiday roster freeze and the trade of Letang be one and the same?