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 Open to Creative Short-Term Extension
According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, the Penguins are interested in bringing back Kris Letang next season and are willing to sign the veteran defenseman to an extension; it just needs to be short-term. Letang is 34 years old and in the final season of his current deal, worth $7.25 million per season.
The Penguins legend made NHL history when he recently became the seventh active defenseman to join the 600-point club and only the 43rd in history to reach the milestone. While he seems to always be fighting off trade rumors, this would be great for Penguins fans, who are very keen to have Letang retire a Penguin when it’s all said and done.
Letang has 18 points in 24 games this season and plays way more than any other player on the team, showing no signs of slowing down. He keeps his body in great shape and, hopefully, the two sides can work out a deal sooner than later so we can get some answers on the future of Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust.
Chychrun Hits the Trade Market
The Arizona Coyotes have reportedly put 23-year-old defenseman Jakob Chychrun on the trade market and have let teams know the price tag will be very steep. Drafted in the first round of 2016, the defender jumped right into the NHL lineup as an 18-year-old and is now in his sixth season in the desert.
The interest will be massive, which is understandable, so expect to see a bidding war. Last season, as a 22-year-old, Chychrun tallied 41 points in 56 games. He’s a cornerstone talent, one you give up top prospects and first-round draft picks for. Signed for four more seasons at a very reasonable $4.6 million annually, contending teams will ante up and pay the steep asking price. But, one team that likely won’t be involved: the Penguins.
While Pittsburgh is expected to make some moves before the trade deadline next March, adding a player with this high price tag is unlikely. The organization simply doesn’t have the farm system, or the draft picks, to get a deal finalized. If general manager Ron Hextall does make a move or two, it will likely be for some help on the wing, an upgrade to backup Casey DeSmith, or a cheap physical defenseman. Trading for Chychrun won’t be on Pittsburgh’s radar at this time, which is too bad because he’s a very talented player.
Penguins Can Extend Win Streak
With five consecutive wins and a “light” schedule ahead, the Penguins should be able to extend their winning streak to 8-to-10 games. The team welcomes the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night and then matches up against the New Jersey Devils for two games before battling it out with their rivals, the Flyers from Philadelphia. Considering how well Tristan Jarry is playing, their secondary scoring is starting to come around, and with Malkin’s pending return to the lineup, look for the Pens to stay busy in the win column.
Penguins Receiving Love From All Over
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was seen arriving at a game earlier this week wearing a Mario Lemieux retro jersey. It was great to see, and given James’ star power, jersey sales went up slightly this week because of the exposure.
While James may say he’s a huge fan, he’s also part-owner and holds a stake in the Fenway Sports Group that just purchased the Penguins earlier this month.
That’s all folks, for this segment of Penguins News & Rumors. It’s a great time to be a Penguins fan, and it sounds like Letang will be sticking around even as the team actively tries to upgrade their roster as we approach the end of the calendar year.
Shane covers any and everything to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs & Pittsburgh Penguins. A constant contributor to the THW family, his passion and unique perspective on the game results in some diverse content. Certainly versatile, you can find Seney also contributing at NHLTradeRumors.me, BaseballRumors.me & BBallRumors.com. Follow along on Twitter @ShugMcSween