Kris Letang is staying in Pittsburgh. Likely for good.
The Penguins got their draft day started by checking off arguably the biggest box on their offseason to-do list on Thursday morning, agreeing to terms with franchise stalwart Kris Letang on a six-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $6.1 million.
The deal, which now ties Letang to the only organization he's ever known through the 2027-28 season, includes a full no-move clause for the first four years before turning into a modified no-trade clause for years five and six.
And so, Letang will very likely retire as a Penguin.
Coming off perhaps the best season of his entire career at age 35, Letang was poised to positively cash in on the free-agent market this summer, with his standing as a 68-point scoring, right-shot defenseman who logged nearly 26 minutes per night for a playoff team against top competition being catnip for opposing NHL GMs. For Letang to sign for $6.1 million, still a large sum but far below what he could have commanded if he remained unsigned on July 13th, is a massive win for the Penguins in the short-term, keeping one of their best and most important players in the building for the foreseeable future.
The term is going to hurt, of course.
Letang's new deal will expire following his age-41 season, which he might not even make it to, given his extensive injury history that includes, among other serious ailments, head trauma.
But the Penguins clearly want to win now to maximize the final years of Sidney Crosby's career. And with Letang now under contract at a bargain rate, they made great strides in doing that -- and then some.