May 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) skates with the puck against the New York Islanders during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins: Was signing Kris Letang the right move?


For the second year in a row the Pittsburgh Penguins make big news near the NHL Draft. Last year it was trading Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes. This year it is signing Kris Letang to an eight-year, $58 million deal.

Apr 11, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

But was it the right move for the Penguins to make? The answer depends on the salary cap. While it is falling to $64 million for the next couple years, it should bounce back up to $70 million or more after that. So it is going to make it a tough couple years for the Penguins, as they have $44 million wrapped up in seven players.

In my opinion, this was a great signing for the Penguins. When you have good players you find a way to keep them. Letang is 26 years old and is an elite player in this league. He provides so much for the Penguins on the ice with the amount of ice time he plays every night, to the way he can move the puck and transfer from defense to offense in a matter of seconds.

Plus, he is a Norris Trophy finalist, one of the best defensemen in the NHL by all accounts. Had the Penguins not signed him or traded him, they would not have gotten a player the caliber of Letang in return.

Granted the Penguins have great organizational depth at defense, but other than Simon Despres most are a year or two away of making the NHL. And when they do come up you want them to be able learn from someone. Who better for them to learn from than one of the best defensemen in the NHL?

The signing keeps the Penguins’ core together, the four (Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury) that has been so successful since coming into the NHL. They have one Stanley Cup already and make the playoffs every year to try and get another one.

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