Kris Letang contract negotiation: Penguins D rejects eight-year offer, according to multiple reports

Justin K. Aller

Kris Letang reportedly rejected an eight-year, $56 million proposal from the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has one year remaining on his current contract and will be a free agent next summer.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has rejected an eight-year, $56 million contract proposal from the team, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

The insider tandem of Darren Dreger of TSN and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN and TSN both indicated that manager Ray Shero presented Letang and his agent Kent Hughes with the proposal. Letang rejected the offer, which would have carried an average annual value of $7 million per season. According to previous reports, Letang was seeking a contract offer that would pay him $7 million per season over a term of five-to-eight years, with an eight-year maximum contract being his ideal figure.

Letang's representation reportedly presented a counter-offer, which featured a figure "south of $8 million," according to LeBrun. Dreger stated during a radio interview with TSN 690 on Thursday morning that the Penguins would likely max out around an average annual value of $7.25 million.

By most accounts, both sides are hoping to get a deal done.

From a speculative perspective, it would be interesting to learn what role a no-movement clause has played in the negotiations. Considering the substantial commitments Shero has made to Evgeni Malkin (eight years, $76 million with a full no-move) and Sidney Crosby (12 years, $104.4 million with a full no-move), the manager might be attempting to provide himself some flexibility.

Entering this process, it had been written that Shero likely could only offer $6 million per season. That total has obviously risen. The Penguins manager is a calculating individual who has proven his competency in dealings. He might be attempting to entice Letang with a more substantial offer in exchange for his willingness to forgo a full no-move.

Dating back to the 2009 NHL Draft, the Penguins have collected several young defensive prospects that stand to make the future of the team's defense corps a formidable group. That includes two-first round picks in last year's draft with the selections of Derrick Pouliot and Olli Määttä and extends to Simon Despres, Philip Samuelsson and Scott Harrington, all of whom were selected in the first two rounds of the draft.

While the salary cap is expected to rise over the coming years, having a player on the roster who commands a $7 million-plus annual salary and dictates where he will and will not go obviously has the potential to become problematic. Especially when younger, less expensive options begin to develop and have the ability to take on more responsibility.

Of course, this is merely a theory.

Whatever the case might be, Letang still has one year remaining on his contract. Given Shero's decision last year to move forward Jordan Staal at the draft, many are speculating the same could be true this year in the event a deal can't be agreed to.

If that's the case, the demand for Letang is expected to be high. The 26-year-old defenseman does not have any kind of movement protection in his contract, which will allow Shero to trade him to any team in the league in the event that he chooses to pursue such a course of action.

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