The Pittsburgh Penguins have locked up another key piece of their core today by announcing the signing of Kris Letang to an eight-year, $58 million extension. Letang was already signed through 2013-14, so he’s now under the Penguins control until the summer of 2022.
In Letang, the Penguins have a 26-year-old that’s widely regarded as one of the top offensive defenseman in the league. He was a finalist for the 2013 Norris Trophy and had 80 points in 86 games over the last two seasons.
At the same time, Pittsburgh is taking a sizable risk by agreeing to pay Letang an average of $7.25 million annually over the life of this contract. The Penguins now have $30.45 million worth of cap space committed to Letang, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal starting in 2014-15. That represents nearly half of the salary cap by next year’s standards tied to just four players.
While it is likely that the cap will increase over the life of these players contracts, Penguins GM Ray Shero might still have a tough time building a supporting cast around those four stars with what’s left of his cap space.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.