Courtesy of Point Park University

The 2019-20 prospectus: Kris Letang


To continue reading, log into your account:

[theme-my-login show_title=0]
Kris Letang. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

This is the 14th installment in a series of profiles of members of the Penguins' major-league roster, as listed alphabetically on the team's website. There will be one each weekday until all players have been addressed.


Age: 32
Size: 6 foot, 201 pounds
Position: Defenseman
Acquired: Third-round draft choice, 2005.
Salary-cap hit: $7.25 million, through 2021-22
2018-19 NHL stats: 16 goals, 40 assists in 65 games

How he fits: Letang is the cornerstone of the defense corps, a fixture on the No. 1 pairing. There's little reason to think that he won't again work alongside Brian Dumoulin.

Shortcomings: Durability is a concern, as Letang has had to deal with a variety of health issues that have limited him to fewer than 70 games six times in the past eight seasons. He often plays bigger than he actually is, which can contribute to his games-missed total. He also can get overly aggressive in the attacking zone, leading to some ill-conceived decisions.

Strengths: When his game is in sync, Letang plays at a Norris Trophy level, as he did for much of the 2018-19 regular season. He skates well and has exceptional hands, especially for a defenseman. Not surprisingly, given the variety of roles he fills for the Penguins, Letang leads the team in average ice time, with no obvious impact on his game because of his exceptional conditioning.

Hidden variable: At some point, the combination of Letang's age, his consistently heavy workload and the many medical problems he's had over the years is going to have a profound impact on his performance. There's no way of knowing now whether 2019-20 will be the season when that begins to happen.

2019-20 expectations: If he can hold down his games-missed total, Letang should be counted on to essentially replicate his regular-season performance from 2018-19 and, in the process, establish that his struggles during the playoffs were an aberration.

The big question: Can Letang lift his game back to the level that will be required if the Penguins are to have any chance of competing for another Stanley Cup, and can he keep it there through the playoffs?

All profiles to date can be found here.


To continue reading, log into your account: