Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero has often made his priorities this offseason crystal clear- sign both Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to contract extensions.
Shero crossed Malkin off his list rather quickly, but Letang is going to be a lot more difficult if not impossible for Shero to ink to a new deal, leaving some to believe that he is rather close to being shipped out of town.
We saw a similar situation develop with Jordan Staal a season ago and Shero very well could be heading down the exact same path with Letang.
According to the Tribune Review’s Rob Rossi, Letang has become a player that Shero realizes he must move and do so rather soon.
If possible, Shero would gladly sign his top defenseman to a deal that would pay him around $6 million annually, but apparently Letang feels he is worth more than that and Shero will likely act quickly.
We saw that when he offered Staal a 10-year deal around this time last season. Once that was turned down, Staal was shipped to Carolina within days.
Rossi goes on to note that the Penguins management do not feel Letang is their best defenseman on the roster and that Letang’s agent, Kent Hughes has yet to hear from Shero, even though Shero has signed Malkin and coach Dan Bylsma to extensions, and has begun negotiations with unrestricted free agent Pascal Dupuis.
It’s also being rumored that Letang wants to double his current annual salary, which would result in him making over $7 million per season, something that the Penguins are unlikely to do. In addition, Rossi writes that Letang wants a full no-movement clause, which likely closes the door on his future in a Penguins sweater.
Shero likely knows that and probably already has made up his mind on what he wants to do with the first time Norris Trophy candidate.
The 30 NHL general managers are set to meet next Wednesday in Boston and you can bet there will be a ton of discussion on Letang.
Whether he gets moved or not is anyone’s guess at the moment, but judging by Shero’s past, we won’t have to wait long for a decision.