Though there never was a report that said any trade was imminent, the Pittsburgh Penguins clearly weren’t happy about the rumors that have surrounded Kris Letang recently. Almost simultaneously, both Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Josh Yohe of The Athletic reported that a Penguins source had shut the door on the idea that Letang was being shopped. This comes just a day after a report that he was “definitely available,” which, while still obviously possible, seemed unlikely to result in anything at the time.
As we discussed yesterday, any potential Letang deal already has some pretty substantial issues preventing it. Not the least of which is Letang’s contract, which still has four more years at a $7.25MM and a partial no-trade clause. The 30-year old defenseman is a big part of the Penguins when he’s fully healthy and playing his best, unfortunately that hasn’t been very often the last few years.
A long history of injury follows Letang, who is currently on injured reserve and out of the lineup for the Penguins. Any potential acquiring team would be taking quite the risk by giving up assets and cap space for a player who has little chance of staying healthy for the net four years.
Obviously, the fact that a team source reached out to both Mackey and Yohe does not necessarily mean that Letang won’t be traded. The Penguins could be looking to build back some leverage in negotiations, or still could be blown away by an offer at some point this season. Pittsburgh is likely to make a move of some sort over the next two months, but it’s still unclear if GM Jim Rutherford will make his big splash, or just tweak a roster for a potential playoff run.