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03-07-2013, 04:53 PM
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As far as the Penguins go -- long-term, I think the biggest worry is probably keeping Letang in the fold.

It's been reported that ownership wants to keep Malkin around as long as possible. If the guy wants to stay, they're going to pay him to stay. The hope there is that he'll do it for less than $10mil/yr.

As it stands now, Letang's value is going to soar. If he were to hit the open market, the competition could probably drive his price up in the $8 million range, which I think we can all agree is too much. I know the guy has had some frustrating stretches of play this year, but the perception of him (outside of Pittsburgh) is as high right now as it ever has been. Multiple national outlets have named him either No. 1 or No. 2 in their midseason Norris rankings, including a panel of hockey writers from across the country, as compiled by USA Today.

Obviously there are external factors there. If Karlsson doesn't go down, then Letang would be getting less attention for this sort of thing. But the hype is building. I honestly don't know how I'd handle his contract negotiation when it starts up this summer. How much is too much?

Tough to read into things too much, but for posterity's sake, here are Malkin and Letang's (brief) thoughts on this subject after the lockout was lifted:

Malkin said he would like to remain with the Penguins because of Crosby.

“Teams need two great players to win (the) Stanley Cup,” Malkin said. “With Sid here, I always have (the) best chance to win.”

As for Letang: “Sid and Geno are going to be here. That is a good start, right?”

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