The next 14 days will be fairly important ones for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Defenseman Kris Letang and forward Pascal Dupuis — who were shut down this season due to a concussion and blood clots, respectively — are set to undergo medical tests over the next two weeks in the hopes of clearing up their playing futures.
“We will hopefully know something then,” Pens GM Jim Rutherford said, per the Tribune-Review. “[We’re] keeping our fingers crossed.”
Dupuis, 36, was shut down in mid-November with a blood clot in his lung. While he said he feels he can return to action, he did acknowledge the decision was “not up to me,” and that a series of medical tests would be required before he could be cleared.
A regular linemate of Sidney Crosby, Dupuis is heading into the third of a four-year, $15 million deal that carries an average annual cap hit of $3.75M.
As for Letang, he was shut down in early April after suffering his fourth concussion in three years on this hit from Arizona captain Shane Doan:
The 28-year-old also suffered a stroke last season — one that, remarkably, only sidelined him for 10 weeks — yet insists that he’ll be ready to go for training camp in the fall.
More, from the Tribune-Review:
[Letang] hasn’t considered having his career cut short by head injuries.
“No concern,” he said. “I’m on my way to coming back. I’m just going through the protocol. I’ll be back on the ice. I missed only a bunch of games once, when I got (a concussion) in Montreal (in 2011). I never missed time for a concussion after that. I’m not really scared.”
Letang said he will be ready for next season.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “Oh yeah. Right from training camp.”
It’s likely the prognoses for both Letang and Dupuis will affect how Rutherford addresses free agency and potential offseason trades. The Penguins missed Dupuis’ production up front — in his last full season, the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, he had 38 points in 48 games — and Letang was the biggest injury on a blueline that was decimated in the second half of the season, to where the Pens dressed just five d-men for a couple of games down the stretch.