Report: Penguins close to signing Letang for eight years, $58M

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The Pittsburgh Penguins and Kris Letang agreed to what is expected to be an eight-year, $58 million contract on Sunday, according to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun notes that it isn’t official yet, though.

The potential pact carries a salary cap hit of $7.25 million. Much like Evgeni Malkin, his deal will expire after the 2021-22 season.

The deal includes a limited no-trade clause. He can list up to 15 teams he’d accept a trade to (perhaps the Toronto Maple Leafs are on that list?).

This comes on the heels of news that the team took a “step forward” in its talks with the 26-year-old defenseman’s agent on Saturday night. That step now looks more like a giant leap.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Letang turned down an eight-year, $54 million offer. Apparently he wanted a deal that echoes his jersey number like Sidney Crosby’s?

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the Penguins chose this eight-year deal at $7.25 million per campaign over a four-year one that would pay an average of $7.5 million in each season.

Pens GM Ray Shero answered his biggest remaining question, yet he faces several significant ones, including the big picture issue of how he’ll surround such an expensive core with supporting talent. Starting in the 2014-15 season, the combined cap hit for Malkin, Crosby and Letang will be a whopping $25.45 million.

Taking Letang out of the trading mix would also substantially increase the value of potential bargaining chip defensemen on draft day.