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.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.
Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.
Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.
With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.
Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.
In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.