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The Ottawa Senators Should Trade For Kris Letang

With the monster contract awarded to Evgeni Malkin this week, there have been rumors swirling around the other big name player who is set to cash in with an extension, Kris Letang.

Letang, who was a finalist for the Norris Trophy (losing out to P.K. Subban) this season has one year remaining on his current deal and, like Malkin, can sign an extension after July 1st. With the Sidney Crosby and Malkin contracts set to eat $18.5M of cap space after next season (with an unknown Salary Cap), speculation is that Letang might be the odd man out.  He hasn’t expressed willingness to take a deep hometown discount that would be required to remain with the Penguins.  Apparently he has seen the contracts the big two have signed and he will be looking for market value.

 

March 26, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) on the ice against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Likely looking for (and proabably going to get) upwards of $6M or $7M per year on a long term deal, now could be the time Letang gets shopped, much like Jordan Staal did at the draft last year.

If this does indeed happen, the Ottawa Senators need to be at the front of the line for Letang. Imagine a first pairing of Marc Methot and Erik Karlsson and a “second” unit of Jared Cowen and Kris Letang.  Then a first power play unit that has Letang and Karlsson manning the points.  The only foreseeable problem with that being too many right handed shots on the first unit, but that can be solved with some creativity.

Letang, in my opinion, is a Karlsson clone, just a little less offensively skilled but with a little more mean streak.  If the Senators could land him it wouldn’t be cheap, but he is the type of player worth giving up some assets for.  Obviously they would want to be certain that he would sign an extension in Ottawa before parting with too much and then losing him after a year, but it would be worth the price.  Then you have some insurance if one of them go down with injury like happened this year.  The Senators would be the best team in the league at getting the puck out of their own end with Leatang and Karlsson, and both are not even in their prime yet.

Obviously the price would not be cheap, probably on par with what Jordan Staal netted last summer or more.  Staal was dealt for a player (Brandon Sutter), a top prospect (Brian Dumoulin) and a first round pick.  Those are assets that the Senators have and if the deal is available, need to pull the trigger.  They have the cap space and the prospects to do it. The Senators could offer him a matching deal to Karlsson’s $6.5M cap hit and skate off into the sunset with two of the top 5 defensemen in the league.

There is some precedent for having two elite defensemen dating back to the Al MacInnis/Gary Suter, Al MacInnis/Chris Pronger, Chris Chelios/Gary Suter, Nicklas Lidstrom/Brian Rafalski and Shea Weber/Ryan Suter days.  Two elite defensemen can co-exist, and excel on the same team.   The Senators need to do what they can to make it happen.

Topics: Erik Karlsson, Kris Letang, Ottawa Senators, Trade Talk

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  • joe

    If letang is going to sign for $6.5 million he will remain with pens. That is being reported from many different sites. If the sens want him it would have to be for more $7 mil or more. Also, there a lot of other teams that have more to offer than the sens…higher 1st round picks (lightning, oilers, etc) and more prospects.

  • bugzy009

    Can u do an article on what it would take for ott to get a top 3 pick this year

    • Jared Crozier

      If the rumors of what Colorado turned down to trade with the Flames to give up #1, I don’t think the Senators have the wherewithal or the desire to entertain that conversation for very long. It is probably along the same lines for #2 and #3, so its probably not worth pursuing. The cost would be too great.

  • Ash

    Jared Crozier you should be fired for this article it makes no sense what so ever.

    Firstly Letang is better than Karlsson offensively just look at the number Letang would have got the past few seasons if he didnt get injured by players like Pacioretty. He is also better than him defensively, ive never seen Crosby go past a player like he wasnt there in the Pens-Sens series. Secondly Letang would sign for Pens for 6.5 million. The point that people are trying to make is that he could get 7-8 million on the open market. Pens wuld sign him for anywhere between 6.5-7 million as Shero wants to keep the core players and has said he doesnt want to have to say we should have kept this guy or that guy as the cap will increase. Letang has also expressed interest in staying in Pittsburgh as he will be playing with the best two players in the world and therefore has the best chance to win.

    So your article should have been called “The Ottawa Senators should not trade for Kris Letang if they are thinking this”.

    • Jared Crozier

      Yes, Crosby beat Karlsson in the playoffs like he wasn’t there…once, and it didn’t look good on Karlsson. BUT remember, Karlsson was also playing at about 50% on a leg that nobody ever even fathomed him being able to play on, and coming back 4 months earlier than would normally be scheduled.

      Karlsson’s career PPG is .70 and Letang’s is .54. And you said it yourself, Letang plays with the two best players in the world. In the last 4 seasons, Pittsburgh has scored an average of 40 more goals per season, yet Karlsson has scored more points over that same period than Letang, with Letang having played more games. Don’t even get me started on the fact that Letang is 3 years older and has 2+ more years of NHL experience, so factor in a head start, and further ahead on the learning curve. Letang better offensively? Show me anything to back that claim up and I will debate it. Everything points towards Karlsson in the offensive end.

      Letang better defensively? That is debatabe, but Karlsson is no shrinking violet in that area any longer, he just gets it done in a different way. In three years compare Karlsson to what Letang does now or compare Karlsson now to Letang at the same age and they might be more similar than you think.

      Karlsson also has some hardware that has eldued Letang (although I though Letang should have got it this year.)

      Hey, I have all the respect in the world for Letang as a player, that is why I would like him in Ottawa. I like his style of play, and think he might be the second most skilled defenseman in the league.

      While I don’t know if the Senators would be willing to go higher than Karlsson’s $6.5M cap hit, All I was saying is that they needed to get in the discussion and the Letang-Karlsson combination, even on separate pairings would be lethal.

      • Ash

        OK fair play. Sorry about the job thing. My point wasn’t to say Letang is better than Karlsson which i think he is (we’ll see next year after the regular season, hopefully both will stay uninjured even though that sounds unlikely, we won’t inlcude playoffs as im not sure whether the Sens will make it :)). My main point was that Shero won’t trade Letang if he could sign him up for 6.5-7 million, he would only trade him if he wanted 7-8 million and a team that wasn’t willing to offer that should stay out of the talks otherwise they would only waste their time and possibly valuable assets.

        • Jared Crozier

          fair enough. They are both great players and maybe my math was a little off and “wishful thinking”. It just seems like if the Penguins are willing to go to $7M for him, then $7.5 isn’t over the line. Its just a weird place to draw the line considering I personally think and am on the record stating that Letang might not be their best player, but could be their most important player. The Malkin extension and the cap hit shocked me. To pay him more than Sid on a average basis might be a mistake.

          And the job comment is no big deal. Nothing I haven’t heard before, but you need to be a little controvertial to get people talking about it! Mission accomplished! Thanks for your comments!

          • Ash

            I have to disagree with you about the Malkin contract i’m afraid to say….sorry. Crosby is earning 12 million a year for the next 3 years and then 10.9 million for 2 and 10 million for 1 year on salary and will slowly drop but Malkin will only get the 9.5 million per annum. He signed a bigger cap hit to even up what he will get compared to Crosby. I and most people were expecting Geno to sign for 10.6 million because he can only sign a max of 8 years compared to Crosby’s 12 but he took a home town discount like Sid did which was fantastic so i was shocked by it not being higher. But about Tanger again i totally agree he is “sometimes” the Pens most important player in a lot of ways which is shocking when they have the two best players in the world in front of him, you can really see the difference when Letang isn’t in the lineup. The above 7 million isn’t actually where Shero will draw the line but i think he will as it will just tie Shero’s hands behind his back if he went above when filling other gaps in the lineup especially on the PK as Adams and Cooke and Dupuis are all free agents. IMO that extra 0.5 million could put us above the cap.
            Sorry for all this but i live in Britain and my mates dont watch ice hockey and i needed to get all this out.

          • Jared Crozier

            No worries, other than the job thing it has been pretty respectful tossing of ideas back and forth. Wish more people would discuss like that.. Cheers!

          • Ash

            Thanks to you too

  • Sensable guy

    All you did with this speculation is get all the homers excited, and get the rest of us shaking our heads.