The Penguins shouldn’t trade Kris Letang, or even consider it.
Sure, he had a roller-coaster season. But he’s a No. 1 defenseman, and there aren’t many.
Letang came back (perhaps too soon) from major neck surgery, and as he said today, “I thought it would be easier. I thought I was going to get over the hump the first few weeks of the season, but it didn’t happen that way.”
Letang isn’t cavalier about playing sub-par. He knows when it occurs, and takes it hard.
“I know when I play well,” he said. “I know when I make mistakes. That’s why I can tell you Game 5 [against Washington] is still on my mind. I made a very costly mistake. I will always put that pressure on myself.”
Letang got caught on the wrong side of the ice early in the third period of Game 5 at Washington. The Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov exploited that for a game-tying breakaway at the 52-second mark. Washington also scored the next three goals to win, 6-3.
Two things might benefit Letang in 2018-19:
*Better communication between him and Coach Mike Sullivan. It’s said that assistant coach Jacques Martin mostly dealt with Letang.
*At 31, Letang may need to simplify his game. Letang seemed to play his best this season when he concentrated primarily on defending.
Letang cares deeply. Never doubt that.
“I sacrifice everything for this team,” Letang said. “My only goal is to spend the rest of my career here.”