The Pittsburgh Penguins are in a position that they’ve unfortunately become all to accustomed – playing without No. 1 defenseman Kris Letang.
The Penguins officially placed Letang on injury reserve Saturday with what the team is calling a lower-body injury. Coach Mike Sullivan expects the blueliner to miss a few weeks. Letang suffered the injury in a 4-3 overtime win over Boston on Wednesday.
Letang missed Friday’s 1-0 overtime loss to Los Angeles. His absence will be tough to manage as the 29-year-old leads the Penguins in average ice time (26:04) while boasting a 53.82 Corsi For percentage, per Corsica. Letang is the team’s fourth-leading scorer with two goals and 19 points in 25 games. He missed time earlier this season with an upper-body injury.
Letang has been sidelined 136 games heading into Saturday night’s affair with the Toronto Maple Leafs since the start of the 2008-09 season. Among his ailments are three documented concussions and a stroke he suffered in January 2014.
“It won’t be easy [to replace Letang],” Sullivan told reporters. “It will be by committee. We think we have capable people and we’ll sort it out. But certainly, he’s a tough guy to replace.”
The Penguins have recalled defenseman Chad Ruhwedel from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He has three goals and 13 points in 26 games.
UPDATE: It appears Letang isn’t the only veteran blueliner out for an extended period of time. According to Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson, Sullivan said before Saturday’s game in Toronto that Daley is week to week with an upper-body injury. Daley, 33, has three goals and 11 points in 31 games this season.