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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Penguins Sign Defenseman Letang to Four-Year Extension

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that they have signed defenseman Kris Letang to a four-year contract extension worth $14 million. The deal averages out to $3.5 million per season. He would have been a restricted free agent on July 1. In 67 games this season with the Penguins, he has three goals and 24 assists for 27 points. In 211 career NHL games, all with the Penguins, he has 21 goals and 58 assists for 79 points. He won the Stanley Cup with the team in 2009. This is a decent signing for the Penguins, as Letang has lots of offensive potential on the blueline. He's a great puck-moving defenseman who doesn't shy away from physical play and, despite having a bit of a down year offensively, should become one of the Penguins' top two defenseman in the future. However, his contract pushes the team's payroll to $44 million for next season, which doesn't leave them a lot of room to re-sign all of their impending free agents. This could lead to the departure of defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who could get offers of $6 million on the open market and is reportedly not willing to accept a hometown discount. Either way, the team has locked up an important piece of their future in Letang and he should continue to improve over the course of the next four seasons.

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