Author Topic: Pens might be shopping Letang  (Read 836 times)

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Online CarltonTheBear

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Pens might be shopping Letang
« on: December 27, 2017, 01:46:28 PM »
This seemed to get buried by the Christmas break, but last Saturday during Sportsnet's Headlines segment Kypreos and Friedman both discussed that Pittsburgh is looking to make a big shake-up and might be bringing up Kris Letang's name. You can watch the segment here, the Letang talk starts at 2:10:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/saturday-headlines-auston-matthews-injury-canadian-olympic-roster/

The Pens are 10th in the Eastern conference, and 3 points out of the final wild card spot. They're tied in points with Carolina, but the Hurricanes have 2 games in hand so if they make good on those the task becomes even tougher. Kypreos and Friedman bring up a few reasons Letang might be on the block: 1) the team needs a shake-up, 2) he's not having a great season (more on that below), 3) Kypreos brings up the fact that the team won the Cup without him last season, 4) Friedman says that the team needs forwards, and 5) his contact and health might be a concern to the club. Let's look at some pros and cons and acquiring Letang:

Cons

•His health. Since 2007 Letang's averaged only 59 games played every season (using a pro-rated version of the lockout year where he only played 35 of 48 games). So he's missed a lot of games in his career. Generally speaking, he hangs around the 70-game mark, the two big injuries that dropped that average were in 13/14 when he missed about 6 weeks after suffering a stroke, and last season when a neck injury cost him the 2nd half of the season. Along with those he's had 3 reported concussions in his career in 2011, 2012, and 2015.

•His performance. Letang is a team worst -15 this season. He's 3rd worst league-wide in giveaways. He has 0 goals and just 4 points at 5-on-5 this season. I'm going to argue later on that there's probably some bad luck causing all of this and Letang isn't actually playing this bad but this article from Pensburgh blog goes through a few examples of why is can't entirely be blamed on bad luck: https://www.pensburgh.com/2017/12/26/16818030/kris-letang-pdo-and-the-difference-between-being-unlucky-and-bad

•His contract. Letang's in the middle of an 8-year, $58 million contract he signed back in 2013. So he has 4 years remaining with a cap hit of $7.25mil. His salary is the same every year. And it comes with a NMC and a modified NTC where he has to submit a list of 18 teams he'll accept a trade to. Letang will be 35 years old when his contract expires.

Pros:

•His past performance. When healthy, Kris Letang has been a top-15 defencemen for almost a decade now. He's finished top-10 in Norris voting in 5 of the past 7 years, including a 3rd place finish in 12/13 and a 4th place finish as recently as 15/16. In that period he's played in all situations, played 25 minutes a night, and averaged a scoring rate of 64 points per 82 games played. His CF% in those seasons has generally hovered between 53-55%, with the one exception coming in 13/14 when he was at 48.8%. That season was the only time his GF% dipped below 50% as well. Like I said, when healthy he's generally been a dominate, right-handed top pairing defenceman.

•His current performance. So, what about this season though? He's still playing over 25 minutes a night, including top minutes on both specialty team units. Even with a lack of even-strength scoring he's still on pace to score 55 points. And despite not scoring a 5-on-5 goal he still leads the team in shots in that state with 84. His shot-share is still an impressive 53.4%, which is tops among defencemen on the team. What's the problem? His GF% is at 26.9%. The only played with over 500 minutes played this season with a worse rate there is our buddy Luke Schenn. With that said, this is also a team-wide issue for Pittsburgh, and Letang plays by far the most minutes for the team. There's only 1 player on the team with a GF% over 50%, and it's Justin Schultz. The majority of the team is under 45%, and a number are also in the 30s including Crosby, Dumoulin, Hornqvist, and Guentzel. The team as a whole sits last in both shooting percentage and save percentage. Sidney Crosby of all players has the 2nd worst on-ice shooting percentage in the entire league. From an outsiders perspective and knowing what we know about these types of percentages, the Pens are just too good of a team for these types of numbers to last. And they almost certainly aren't entirely a product of their own performance.

•His value and availability. Due to a combination of all of those cons, Kris Letang might be available for the first time in his entire career. A potential top pairing, right handed defenceman might be available and that's exactly what this team so desperately needs. And his value, while still likely high, won't be the highest it's ever been. I do think that his health and cap-hit/contract scare a lot of teams and that'll probably limit the amount of teams going hard after him. He's certainly a risky trade option, but at this point it's probably this or we wait until 2018 and offer Doughty or Karlsson an 8-year, $80mil+ contract and hope for the best.

So... thoughts? Go after him, don't go after him? The Leafs have a lot of trade options at forward that of course might interest Pittsburgh. Guys like JVR or Bozak would obviously fill an immediate need and have instant chemistry with Kessel. But they're of course pending free agents. Brown or Kapanen seem to be guys who could definitely be seen as trade chips. Friedman said that the Pens would want forwards back but if Letang goes their defence on the right side is pretty barren, so I'd argue that Zaitsev would make for a pretty interesting trade possibility here. I think you could seriously build a reasonable trade offer around him plus others.

Online Bill_Berg

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 01:58:13 PM »
I thought Pittsburgh was weak on defense. Wasn't the story that they won the Cup despite the defense, but with a awesome group of forwards? Maybe I remember that being bigger than it was, or did they lose significant forwards?

Online CarltonTheBear

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2017, 02:02:56 PM »
I thought Pittsburgh was weak on defense. Wasn't the story that they won the Cup despite the defense, but with a awesome group of forwards? Maybe I remember that being bigger than it was, or did they lose significant forwards?

They lost a lot of depth: Cullen, Bonino, Kunitz. And they didn't really replace those guys with anyone.

Offline Frank E

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 02:20:29 PM »
After reading all of that, I wonder what he's worth...never mind what Pittsburgh would want?

You'd likely need to take contracts back, so I doubt you send 3 contracts their way and only take one back.

Wasn't there talk of Hagelin moving too?

Online Bill_Berg

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 03:34:42 PM »
There's been so much talk about Bozak to the Pens, that I have to assume he would be a part of any deal, but what on top of that? Brown, maybe, but I doubt that would be enough.

I would be surprised is Zaitsev went, just due to the newness of his contract.

Offline Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 03:59:04 PM »
Friedman was talking about this the other day and he wondered aloud about taking on a guy with his injury history.

Online bustaheims

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2017, 04:00:25 PM »
I definitely have concerns about his injuries impacting his ability going forward - at least in terms of him still being able to handle the kind of workload we'd expect with his cap hit. Combine that with what I suspect will be an exceptionally high asking price, and I'd be inclined to pass.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Online WhatIfGodWasALeaf

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2017, 05:27:16 PM »
Why would they move their #1 dman?

Online Guru Tugginmypuddah

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2017, 06:13:36 PM »
I'd rather wait for Double D. 

Offline skrackle

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2017, 08:20:03 PM »
I know there's some logic to the Leafs trying to win the Cup while Matthews is still on his elc, but I don't think that it should be the Leafs focus. Could it happen? Well, anything could happen.

The Leafs badly need an upgrade on defense, but I don't think Letang is the answer. If Erik Karlsson is available, then ok, I think you go all in. Drew Doughty as an UFA? Sure.

I think that when you try to rush things, you overlook things. The Leafs have some really nice young talent. It's easy to get excited about the team when it's compared to the previous decade plus of Leafs hockey. But are the Leafs a real contender now? I don't think so. I'd rather not see the Leafs handicap themselves with bad contracts, paying players for what they've done, rather what they can do now.

That's the old way. I know it's all about winning in the NHL, but I'm hoping that Shanahan and his staff can keep the big picture in sight. They haven't won anything yet.


Offline Damian

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2017, 11:29:06 PM »
Will they take Gardiner?

Online bustaheims

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2017, 03:09:09 PM »
Letang is currently day-to-day with an injury. So, there's that . . .
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Offline louisstamos

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2017, 06:00:08 PM »
Letang is currently day-to-day with an injury. So, there's that . . .

Evidently injured his feelings with the trade talk...

Offline herman

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2017, 06:44:29 PM »
Letang is currently day-to-day with an injury. So, there's that . . .

Evidently injured his feelings with the trade talk...

Those lower body feelings, man.

Offline louisstamos

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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2017, 06:52:08 PM »
Letang is currently day-to-day with an injury. So, there's that . . .

Evidently injured his feelings with the trade talk...

Those lower body feelings, man.


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Re: Pens might be shopping Letang
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2017, 06:52:08 PM »