Thursday Morning Mashup: Letang Prefers Toronto?

Thursday Morning Mashup: Letang Prefers Toronto?

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I think we can all agree that Leafs TV should have produced a PSA, prior to the off-season, indicating how to use an inflatable life-jacket.  Buckle-up, people.

GMs have now had some time to get a handle on the new reality created by the CBA. With the draft a little over 72 hours away, the rumours are abound and fans from every team will have their ears to the ground.

Yesterday, more news broke that the Leafs and Lightning were talking over a potential deal that got the league’s panties in a knot. Alec had it covered in this article.

Last night on TSN 1050 Game Night, Rob Rossi, a writer from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, joined Jim Tatti and Mike Hogan to talk about his thoughts on Kris Letang’s future.  Here’s what went down:

What’s your read on what’s happening in Pittsburgh?

I should stress that these things change potentially minute-by-minute, but the latest information I have is the Kris is a little bit curious about where he stands long-range in the Penguins’ plans. He’s read reports of mine that there are people within the organization that thought Paul Martin was the better defenseman last year and that there has been sort of a hesitation on a willingness to commit to him long-term at elite defenseman money.”

How does Toronto factor into this?

“Now, I should stress clearly that GM Ray Shero has been very public since the lock-out ended that he wanted to retain Kris Letang, but the Penguins have committed a lot of money to Crosby and Malkin, they’ve also committed NMCs to both of those players. They’re very deep in their system on defense and I’ve been told that if the Penguins couldn’t reach some sort of understanding with Letang, that Toronto has emerged as a preferred landing spot perhaps by Letang.”

How much would Pittsburgh ask for?

“It would be a place he’d be willing, if dealt, to perhaps sign a long-term deal and I know that the Penguins are going to want to deal with a team that can provide at least one roster player, in addition to a first round draft pick and a top prospect, if not two roster players. “

“They’re not looking to just get a third or a fourth line potential guy, they’d like to get roster players under contract that they think could fit in. The Leafs, over the years, have drafted players with great speed and that’s something the Penguins do – get faster – in addition to having guys under contract.”

Have the Leafs and Penguins talked?

“I don’t know that the Penguins and Leafs have had any discussions.”

If both parties can’t come to an agreement, what wold be the fallout?

“I believe that there would be a fairly intense bidding war for Kris Letang. We’re probably talking about the premier player that will be trying to negotiate a new contract, with the possibility of being traded in terms of the first guy to do that under the new CBA. The Penguins would only move him if they thought there would be significant return.”

How is this situation different from Jordan Staal’s situation last year?

“Now, the difference between the Letang and Staal situations was Staal told the Penguins that he wasn’t interested in signing a long-term deal because he wanted to go to FA, or he wanted to play for Carolina.”

“Letang has not told the Penguins that yet, and I can tell you his preference right now is to still try to work our something with the Penguins. This is where he wants to be, but he is at least considering where his other options could be in terms of where he wants to raise a young family.”

Why Toronto?

“Kris is used to playing a pretty big role on a high profile team, certainly a team like Toronto, especially with a coach like Randy Carlyle. I think Carlyle would suit Letang well if that was a fit. So, I think there are a lot of reasons why Letang would like the Maple Leafs if something doesn’t work out with Pittsburgh.”

What is your outlook for the Penguins’ roster?

“Eventually, Pittsburgh is going to have some sort of roster overhaul and it will probably be more obvious on defense. Pittsburgh is really among the deepest teams in terms of top-end prospects at the back-end. Now, that said, it’s my understanding that they’re interested in signing Orpik [and Despres] to extensions.”

Would they hold on to Letang?

“I do think there is a chance that Pittsburgh could hold on to Letang through the draft weekend. I don’t think they feel there is a player out there that they love so much that they have to go get a draft pick. There is, in Pittsburgh, an interest to see what the buyouts and [the draft] do to the NHL landscape.”

“The one thing I know about the Penguins is that there are only two untouchable players, Crosby and Malkin. One of the things that I think you’ll see in Pittsburgh, in coming years, is that eventually those guys will have to carry some younger players who might have talent but great inexperience. [Contrast this with] what’s been a fairly veteran group those two have played with for the first half of their careers.”

Why do some within the organization consider that Martin had a better season than Letang?

“Paul Martin had great metrics when you look at shut-down defensmen, he played more against top competition. That said, I don’t think they mean to say that Letang was a poor player last year and maybe they viewed that Martin gave them a little bit more consistency.”

“Letang, if you look at the metrics is about a top-70 players at his position in terms of the defensive defensemen. He is a number one, by most measures, when you look at offense, especially creating offense. Most of [Letang’s] shifts end up in the other team’s zone. Among players who played 30 games last year, Letang was 2nd in his position in terms of  the shot-attempted differential. I think Kris Letang is a future Norris Trophy winner and a guy who replaced Jordan Staal as the number 3 of the Penguins’ the Big 3.”

What do the Penguins think of Letang?

“The Penguins know that Letang stands to make a lot of money on the open market. In a salary cap system, it’s really tough to pay three players potentially upwards of $7M a year. Kris Letang, at $3.75M a year, is a tremendous bargain.”

“So, can you commit to a long-term deal at major money for Letang and win a championship? I don’t know if the Penguins feel comfortable with that.  I think they’d like to see him score fewer points, but be a little bit sounder defensively. ” 

- – –

What do you guys think?

Would Letang be a good fit, and worth the price (both his acquisition, and the price of his new contract), given the Leafs have Gardiner and Rielly in the system? Would you give up one of those two + a roster player + a high pick to make this happen?

Have fun with this one…

– – –

Morning Links:

Tevez Owens: Patrick Kane parties with a unicorn head (PICS)Best believe that this kid is running Chicago right now.

Backhand Shelf: HometownThe Hawks weren’t always as visible as they are now and it sounds like they had their own version of Harold Ballard.

Larry Brooks (NYP): Leafs & Lightning, Buyouts, and CBA CircumventionBrooksie bursting our creative, speculative bubbles. He might have been the first to report on this.

Friedman (CBC): 30 Thoughts, NHL buyouts no sure thingICYMI, #12 is encouraging.

Siegel (TSN): Inside the Maple Leafs Draft ProcessMust read, Leafs fans.

A graduate student at Columbia University, Aaron is defined by a love of nature, an intense interest in finance, and a passion for the Blue & White. Toronto born and raised, earliest Leaf memories include emulating Joe Bowen calls and carpet mini-stick during HNIC. Former D1 NCAA Tennis player. Aaron can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mapleleafmuse.
493 comments
Cartsy
Cartsy

If Letang just turned down 56 million over 8 years, I don't want him.  Who does he think he is?

Boblav
Boblav

I like the path toronto is on. I like the way Gardner finished the season. I like letang's game and age, but I don't understand his salary demands. Maybe a contract that escalates as the cap does? I'd love to have him, but if I was going to commit that kind of cap space, I'd want someone like weber - someone who is dominant at both ends of the ice. Or better still - trouba or Murray because of their age and lower salaries. You look at the contracts of lyles, komisaric, gabrovski, and Connolly - they really tie your hands if you don't get it right. I,m not covincd that he,s worth the the term or the amount he turned down.

Claymish
Claymish

Say HELL NO to Letang. He is an injury risk, plus his point totals have more to do with having the top 2 players in the game on his team. I'm against $6.5 being paid to Phaneuf, even more so against paying that kind of money to Letang. Phaneuf at least brings more to the table than offence, but I wouldn't spend that kind of money either way. If it must happen I'm almost embarrassed to say all I would give up is Kulemin (for the Malkin connection) and Franson. That way we upgrade our speed from Franson to Letang, and in reality probably only have to pay him $2-$3 million more. Pittsburgh wins having Kulemin who will do fantastic with Malkin like they did overseas, and Franson will probably put up the same points as Letang because he will play more games.

Sic_Transit_Gloria
Sic_Transit_Gloria

One of my colleagues had an interesting take on the buyouts. He is saying that the process for compliance buyouts involves placing the player on waivers first... meaning toronto could pick lecavalier up on waivers before he can be bought out, leaving tampa with 50% of his cap hit and toronto with lecavalier for a cap hit of about 3.5 m. that's pretty solid... we could play him for a year and then buy him out.

so the question is, (if it's in the rules) would you use one of our compliance buyouts on lecavalier if it meant we could have him play for us for 1 year at the same cap hit as kuli/kadri have?

it's an interesting scenario...

.Kong.
.Kong.

Something huge is brewing boyz...  I'm certain.

.Kong.
.Kong.

Kris Letang is a straight up stud.  I would give my right testicle for Letang if I were Nonis.  Our team would INSTANTLY be an Elite team in the NHL no question.  If No-No can pull the rabbit out of the hat and land that 1C we've all been dreaming of, we're going to contend this coming year and next we'll be right there with the Chicago Blackhawks of the league.

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

Apologies, but I must again express my utter contempt for the NHL.  The decision to not permit the Lecavalier trade-buyout-resigning demonstrates, once again, that the league has only disrespect for its its flagship franchise.  This was a fair deal and one that assisted a franchise with a small fan base.  But I guess the NHL has to protect its integrity (snicker).  Of course, when the Rangers want to buy out Redden in January, contrary to the CBA which stated compliance buyouts were to happen now, well, the NHL couldn't change the rules fast enough. 

LeafsGuru
LeafsGuru

i bet if your an average player with a big contract, your thinking damn i shouldn't of listened to my agent. 

Grahamzky
Grahamzky

Lots of talk now about bringing in players like Lecavilier, Vokoun, Letang etc. Perhaps this a good idea?

What I don't see is how the Leafs would be able to afford these players (cap wise). The only way I see some of these players coming is if guys like Liles, Grabovski and Phaneuf are bought out or traded (most likely traded|). Would this be a step in the right direction?

From what I see, our Leafs don't have a whole lot of cap room. (unless moves are made)

Like others have said, love Letang, but already have others coming up like him, so would not be in favor of giving him a long-term big $$$$ contract. Of course, decent player, though!

Lecavilier, be careful, no long-term contract!

LeafsGuru
LeafsGuru

i think its safe to say that grabo is not playing center for the leafs anymore so many options now dont think he will fit in with the cap

Sic_Transit_Gloria
Sic_Transit_Gloria

good morning boys.

I am getting absolutely giddy about the possibilities on the horizon. Burke and Nonis have set us up to take advantage of the coming FA/Trade/Draft storm than any other team in the league. who knows what could happen this weekend or over the next few weeks! Trading for letang to play with Dion, signing briere, weiss, or lecavalier, drafting a new potential impact player or moving up in the draft!

I AM PUMPED!!!!

more on topic....I would trade a package like Kulemin+Percy/Finn/Biggs/Leivo/D'Amigo/Colborne+our first this year for Letang, but I'm not sure I would go into two roster players, and I don't think I'd include franson, reilly, kadri, or gardiner. I don't think the upgrade letang offers is worth any of those players and a first round and a prospect/other player.

the one guy I hope hte leafs throw some money at in the off season is weiss, and I also wouldn't mind snapping up ference to play a depth role on the blueline if the price is right (get rid of liles somehow)

let's get excited boys!!!! it's going to be a hell of a draft weekend!!

(for the record I think we land letang at the draft!)

ShotgunCharlie
ShotgunCharlie

This whole Letang nonsense is just the media trying to create headlines for the draft and FA. It is all pure speculation based on a reporter from Pittsburgh. All he said was that Letang thought Toronto was a good destination. Thats it!  And if Letang wants out because Pittsburgh thinks Paul Martin is their best defenceman then he can stay in Pittsburgh. We don't need a headcase like that. 

Dink
Dink

All this math and still no breakfast

unclejakescards
unclejakescards

another question , if teams can announce a contract extension prior to being able to register it , cant a ufa agree to terms prior to july 5th ??? just not register it.......... things that make u go hmmmmmmm

unclejakescards
unclejakescards

question ..... i seen somewhere before debate over some free agents being avaialble to sign on july 1st not 5th ..... is the amnesty bought out players have to wait til july 5th or 1st ????

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

Hear is a sneaky thought.

The Past few days Leafs ingratiate themselves to Vinny knowing TB is looking to buy him out.

They step up to buy out Vinny and make sure Vinny goes back to Tampa Bay after they buy him out.

Vinny loves this idea and feels Toronto is a great organization for thinking this way.

Sneaky Nonis phones the NHL to tell them of the plan and they nix the deal, Tampa then has to buy him out.

Vinny still feels that Toronto is a great organization and accepts a 1 year 7M contract with Toronto, then goes back to Tampa next year dirt cheap.

Sneaky

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Louis Jean ‏@LouisJean_TVA

Told Vinny Lecavalier is open and willing to play in Montreal but will evaluate all opportunities. Some teams have already contacted him.


Other teams have reached out ? Isn't that tampering ?

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

Vinny is probably frothing at the mouth to get to Toronto

JVR Vinny Kessel

Wow 80 point season no doubt!

Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

Guess we can't be too surprised they're just gonna buy him out rather than swing something with us .. Vinnik is one of the richest owners in the league, right?

Alex Tran
Alex Tran

Holy smokes Vinny is available. 

Big, strong veteran centre who can play at both ends of the ice? Good lord sign me up. 

Jay_Berg
Jay_Berg

Vinny is now the top UFA available. Ironic part is they somebody will probably have to overpay AGAIN to get him.

I hope the leafs are active on this. I'd be OK overpaying for him in terms of salary as long as the term is reasonable. But given his age (33) I'd imagine he will want a 4-5 year deal. If a 35 year old Mark Streit can get a 4 year deal the Vinny can certainly get at least 5 years unfortunately.

LeafsGuru
LeafsGuru

Lots of options starting to apper for a number 1 center for next season leafs my come out of this being one of the top teams next year.  Thanks Burkie/Nonis just dont screw this up nows your chance to do something! 

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

This is going to be one hell of an 10 day ride boys!

wendelsfist
wendelsfist

Correct me if I'm wrong or missed a key date

June 27 to July 4th Amnesty Buyouts/Waiver

June 27 to July 30th  UFA/RFA extensions of "key" players teams don't want to risk going into free agency

June 30:  NHL Draft

July 1 to July 5 "Open period for teams to talk to UFA"

July 5 Free Agency Frezny Commences

Dink
Dink

Be interesting to see where "Vinny" wants to play now...money should not be the only driving factor because the boy is rich.

Dink
Dink

Looking at the deal Lecavalier had with Tampa Bay and I got to say, that was one of the stupidest contracts ever...

Jon520
Jon520

Is it just me or do the Leafs have a TON of options to improve this team over the next 2 weeks!!!  Cap space, 2 buyouts to use, financial resources to use if needed, trade up in the draft etc.....

Jay_Berg
Jay_Berg

Question: what is Vinnie worth on a new contract?

At least $6 million per? Funny thing is he prob wont get that much less in terms of yearly cap hit. Difference will be better term.

LeafsGuru
LeafsGuru

i think leaf should use a regualar buy out on komi and use compliance buy outs on jml and grabo if they cant trade them they dont need to buy out right away shop them if no one wants then buy them out they would be better to use compliance buy outs for our cap then komi. then we have lots of space on our cap. bozak could get resigned at 3 mil for our 3rd center now that Kunitz has sign bozak will have to realize what direction the NHL is headed in

daniel marois
daniel marois

Can you imagine a team going into the Bell Centre with Bernier in goal, Vinny at centre and Letang on defence?  Those three would play career games every night in La Belle Province.  And Habs fans heads would EXPLODE!  HAHA!

Common Sense
Common Sense

Rob Rossi gets on a radio show that just happpens to be in Toronto and starts a damn rumor.  Toronto, after building within to just piss it away is simply ridiculious.  Nobody listens to Rossi in Pittsburgh so fans in Toronto can calm down.  Letang will be traded but not to Toronto.

Beleafer29
Beleafer29

This buyout frenzy is better than the Stanley Cup Finals!

ingy56
ingy56

Leafs now in contact with Mike Pelyk to get the OK to give Vinny #4 LOL. 

daniel marois
daniel marois

I guess we will know if Letang is on the trade block or not.  Should not take him long to decide on that contract offer.

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

So what Leafs do is offer Vinny a 3 year 21M deal, pay him 7M for 2013/ 2014 and if he is not pulling his weight buy him out next year, no sweat.

Beleafer29
Beleafer29

Thanks Burke for not front loading a bunch of Leafs! Now we can sit back and shop!

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

So Vinny has to clear waivers before this is official ?

theacs1966
theacs1966

Panic!  Capgeek is temporarily unavailable.

Beleafer29
Beleafer29

Twitter is starting to smoke.......back up boys I think she's going to blow. Next few days will be fun!

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Wow didn't know that . Chris Letang is Reilly's favorite player