Despite the fact that the Pittsburgh Penguins got swept in the first round of the postseason, star defenseman Kris Letang hopes his team doesn’t make changes to their roster for 2019-20.
Chatter has been so intense with his teammates Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin, but Letang doesn’t want them to be shipped elsewhere as he strongly believes the current roster is capable of winning the Stanley Cup for the third time in five seasons.
Letang revealed to The Athletic this week that he speaks with Kessel on a daily basis and of course, they get caught talking about the rumours and the possible changes to the team.
“I talk to him almost every day, and we chat about it, but all this is stuff we don’t control,” Letang said. “Of course the noise is going to be loudest to his ears and it must affect him at least a little bit. But business is business.”
The veteran blue liner does not understand why Malkin would also be dragged in the speculations, adding that he shouldn’t be moved simply because he had a tougher time this season. Malkin posted 21 goals and 72 points, and was minus-25 in 68 regular-season games, down from the 98 points (42 goals, 56 assists) he had in 2017-18. In the playoffs against the Islanders, he tallied just three points.
"The fact those rumors have come out, I find it hard to believe," Letang said. "[Malkin has] been treated really well with us, he's won three Stanley Cups. There's a lot of gossip out there sometimes. It's not because he had a tougher season that he's suddenly a bad player. Every player has bad seasons."
Letang seems positive that the current Penguins roster can bounce back and get back to the Stanley Cup final next spring. However, will he be able to convince GM Jim Rutherford to get two very powerful trade baits in Pittsburgh for another run?