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Ron Hextall Has ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B’ for Penguins and Kris Letang

The Pittsburgh Penguins have a Plan A and Plan B for the roster and for defenseman Kris Letang.

As per NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun, there’s a plan in Pittsburgh when it comes to the roster, specifically for veteran defenseman Kris Letang. LeBrun offered some insight on the contract talks (or lack thereof) when it comes to both Letang and Evgeni Malkin and discussed theories on how the Penguins plan to proceed as it pertains to their respective contract extensions.

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LeBrun focused mostly on Letang but said a similar principle applies to Malkin. That is, during the intermission of Tuesday night’s on the TSN broadcast of the Penguins vs. the Montreal Canadiens game, LeBrun pointed out that Letang is a pending free agent and the Penguins are facing a difficult decision. He said, “For Ron Hextall, He has a ‘Plan A’ and and ‘Plan B’.”

Plan A is is to stay competitive. That means keeping the best players on the roster and not moving veterans with only a couple of seasons left in the tank for younger stars with future upside. LeBrun offers that Plan A recognizes that Sidney Crosby is not here to rebuild and trying to re-sign Malkin and Letang is of critical importance.

Plan B is more of a rebuild and it’s not something the Penguins want to explore unless they have little to no choice. Right now, Hextall sees the team playing well enough that Plan A is still a part of his planning process.

So What’s the Plan for Letang?

As for where that leaves the Letang deal, speculation is that the Penguins spoke with Letang over the offseason and let him know that they were more favorable to a short-term extension. The issue is that Letang feels like he’s got lots left to offer, “could play forever” and would like something longer. The problem for Pittsburgh is that Letang’s next contract will be an age 35+ contract. That gives the team no security if he were to retire or his production goes downhill in the final years of his run in the NHL.

Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins 1
Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins 1

With that in mind, the team isn’t concerned he won’t be effective in the short-term. He has 18 points (1G+17A) in 24 games and the belief is he’ll be effective for this and a couple of additional seasons at a minimum. So too, a longer-term deal — even if it isn’t ideal for the Penguins — means a lower AAV and that’s important.

The Penguins will try to hold as firm as they can on something shorter, trying to stay under four years. They won’t, however, push three or fewer years to the point they sour the relationship between Letang and the organization.

Next: Canucks’ Rutherford Won’t Be Rushing Into Any Trades



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