Penguins News & Rumors: Starting DeSmith, Crosby, & Letang

Welcome to Pittsburgh Penguins News & Rumors, where we cover all the hot topics about the club and dive into more than just box scores. Get ready for some rapid-fire headlines that will run us through all the noise surrounding Pittsburgh’s beloved Penguins.

Penguins Coach Going Back to DeSmith

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan announced on Tuesday that Casey DeSmith will get the start against the Philadelphia Flyers. The 30-year-old netminder is coming off a 26-save shutout against the Ottawa Senators and will look to continue his strong play. It’s pretty crazy to hear he’s been climbing up the organizational record books:

While some including myself have been hard on DeSmith this season, he’s managed to turn around his game after a brutal start to the season. With Tristan Jarry’s struggles during last season’s playoff series with the New York Islanders, goaltending depth has been a major spotlight planted on the Penguins this season.

Related: Penguins: 3 Potential Trade Destinations for Kasperi Kapanen

It’s great to see both tenders are finding their groove as management works the phones to try and upgrade their roster. If there’s one knock on the tandem it’s a lack of playoff experience, so it will be interesting to see how things shape up this postseason in Pittsburgh.

Crosby Still Makes Some Players Do a Double Take

Sidney Crosby will go down as one of the best players to ever lace up skates in the NHL. While he’s entering the back nine of his career, the Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native can still get the job done at the game’s highest level. And when he’s not busy filling up the scoresheet, Crosby’s been busy blowing the minds of a couple of the NHL’s best young talents. Anaheim Ducks super rookie Trevor Zegras and St Louis Blues youngster Jordan Kyrou each had quite the experience regarding the Penguins captain.

Zegras explained how playing against Crosby in his first matchup earlier this season was a complete out of body experience:

“He’s the best. He was always the best. I feel like he’s been the face of the NHL for 15 years. To get to play against him was hilarious, it almost didn’t feel real, you know? There’s only a couple of guys like that, and he’s definitely one of them”

Trevor Zegras

As for Kyrou, his experience was mind-blowing to the Blues forward as a totally unexpected stick request came through to his training staff and the 23-year-old couldn’t believe it. The NHL’s fastest skater winner at 2022 All-Star weekend had this to say about what took place:

Crosby heads into Tuesday’s action against the Flyers with 499 career goals and looks for #500. While he receives a ton of praise for his playmaking abilities and rightfully so, it’s important to remember the Penguins legend as someone who could score at will in so many different ways. With two goals and seven points in his last five games, it certainly feels like Tuesday night could be the night. His teammates will be rooting for him.

Letang Must Take Home-Town Discount to Stay in Pittsburgh

With Kris Letang’s long-time agent Kent Hughes recently taking the general manager position with the Montreal Canadiens, Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now has reported extensions talks with the Penguins will now be handled by Phil Lecavalier. While this is pretty standard practice, a recent quote from general manager Ron Hextall is drawing some attention. Hextall was asked about some pending free agents wanting a raise on their next deal and the Penguins executive had this to say:

“You know, we’d like to sign some of our UFAs. We have a hard salary cap, so they’re going to have to work with us. And, you know, certain players, if they want the most money, they’re probably going to go elsewhere. But I think you can say that about every team. So we’re hoping that our guys are comfortable here, which I believe they are, and hopefully, we can find a deal that satisfies both sides.”

Ron Hextall

Makes you think Letang’s loyalty to the franchise is going to be tested this summer when his current deal paying him $7.25 million is off the books and he’s free to discuss a contract with any team. A contract extension in-season at this point seems very unlikely considering all the variables involved. For now, management appears focused on hockey deals leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.

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