Letang’s lone goal: Play all 82 games

Getty Images

Kris Letang is a top-tier offensive defenseman — when healthy. That qualifier has been a big issue for Letang and the Pittsburgh Penguins as he’s been plagued by health issues over the last four campaigns.

Which makes his objective going into the season a natural one.

“My only goal is to play 82 games,” Letang told the team’s website.

There’s definitely an element of luck when it comes to a player’s health, but this isn’t a matter that’s entirely out of his control.

“Managing my ice a little bit more is going to be important,” he said. “I cannot be all out like I do all the time. But I don’t want to change my game. I want to be the same guy that is aggressive, that will finish checks and be a guy that’s tough to play against.”

But that doesn’t mean he will be aggressive in every situation.

He’ll look to Minnesota’s Ryan Suter for inspiration. Suter has only missed five games over the last three seasons while simultaneously leading the league in ice time per contest in each of those campaigns. Letang wants to follow his example by picking his spots a bit more.

Letang hasn’t played since March 28 due to a concussion, but he’ll enter training camp without restrictions.

Related: Pittsburgh’s Biggest Question: Is the defense good enough?