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09-09-2012, 11:24 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Spokane, WA.
Weight: 195 lbs
How Acquired: Trade with Pittsburgh, November 8th, 2011 (in exchange for a 4th round draft pick)
Analysis: Letestu spent three seasons with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL before making the jump to Western Michigan of the CCHA. Letestu was the MVP of the AJHL in 2005-06 with 50 goals and 105 points in 58 games. In his lone season at Western Michigan, Letestu scored an impressive 24 goals and 46 points in 37 games, good for 14th in the NCAA. Following his impressive season, the Pittsburgh Penguins offered Letestu a free agent contract on March 22, 2007, and that fall he stepped into a full-time role with the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. After a stint in the ECHL, Letestu burst onto the scene during the 2008-09 season, scoring 24 goals and 61 points in 73 games. After one more year with the Baby Pens, Mark earned a full-time spot on the big squad, however was lost in the mix behind guys named Crosby, Malkin, and Staal (amongst others). After an unimpressive start to the 2011-12 season, the Pens dealt Letestu to the Jackets for a mid-round pick, giving Mark a fresh start with a less-talented team.
Pros: Good skill, hard worker, solid penalty killer, plays multiple positions
Cons: Size, not a high level player, has he peaked?
Realistic Expectations: Some folks think Letestu is capable of a top-6 role on this team, and I can't argue against that. The question I have is: who does he displace to step into a top-6 role? That's been the problem with Mark so far in his somewhat young pro career, and will remain one until he steps his scoring up enough to forge a top-6 role on his own. As it stands, he is a good third line player that can play both powerplay and penalty kill, and is skilled enough that, when placed alongside other talented players, can be an effective depth scorer. In this case, I have Letestu penciled in on the third line, alongside Prospal and Johansen - a line which certainly has some intrigue if/when the season gets under way.
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