Ever since the Phil Kessel trade to the Minnesota Wild fell through, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has been looking at other ways to shed salary and improve his roster for the upcoming seasons.
While very few players are considered untouchables, it seems like one everyone expected to be protected by that title isn’t. That’s because Rob Rossi of The Athletic has reported that Rutherford is listening to offers for star defenseman Kris Letang.
The Pens insider points out that two Eastern Conference teams have reached out to Rutherford about acquiring the blue liner’s services.
Check this out:
"Multiple league sources said Thursday they have heard general manager Jim Rutherford was “listening” and “having talks” on Letang, the Penguins’ all-time leader in most categories among defensemen. The Penguins, the sources said, had told interested parties that any trade would need to be part of a package that included at least “an impact player on controllable contract and/or a projected future salary-cap hit that was reasonable.”
The sources said at least two clubs recently contacted Rutherford about Letang, whose $7.25 million cap hit can be considered a bargain given his standing as a top-pairing anchor with elite offensive production. Without revealing the identity of those clubs, the sources said each was from the Eastern Conference and among the 18 to which Letang would approve a deal — an option permitted by a clause in his contract.
However, sources also said their understanding was that Rutherford hoped to leave Vancouver with at least a couple of options for trades that would involve either Letang or Kessel, the Penguins’ top scorer among wingers the past four seasons who earlier this offseason nixed a trade that would have sent him to Minnesota."
On top of that, a well-placed source within the Montreal Canadiens organization told Pittsburgh Hockey Now on Friday that the Habs one of those who have made a serious inquiry about landing Letang.
Letang has a limited no-trade clause which stipulates he may submit a list of 18 teams to which he’ll accept a trade. It would make sense for him to accept a move to Montreal, near his hometown.
It might be a busy and emotional night for the Penguins tonight in Vancouver at the NHL Entry draft…