NHL Trade Rumors: Kris Letang and Tyler Seguin Could Move on Draft Day

NHL Trade Rumors
NHL Trade Rumors
Toronto Ontario CAN Boston Bruins center Tyler Seguin 19 prepares to shoot against the Toronto Maple Leafs during game six of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the Air Canada Centre Tom Szczerbowski USA TODAY Sports

As the NHL descends on New Jersey’s Prudential Center for the 2013 NHL entry draft, there may be more top talent to offer than just teenagers Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones. Norris Trophy finalist Kris Letang could be shopped if Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero can’t get him to accept an extension, and in a surprising twist Boston youngster Tyler Seguin could be available as the Bruins attempt to reload after a heartbreaking finals loss.

One of the NHL’s elite defenders, Kris Letang has one year remaining on his current deal with Pittsburgh, but the star-studded Pens are desperate to lock him up long term as they enter treacherous salary cap waters over the next few years. If they cannot extend the 26-year-old, they could attempt to move him on draft day for some more affordable young options.

The Penguins went all-in on their 2013 Cup campaign, and will now need to recover financially as the salary cap decreases. The Penguins have just one defenseman inked beyond next season, and 12 of the team’s forwards will need new deals by next summer. The heart of the Pens offense is secure with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Chris Kunitz all on long-term deals, but those player’s big-money contracts leave little room for Kris Letang’s demands as tremendous roster uncertainty looms.

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Letang turned down an eight year offer from the Penguins that would have paid him roughly $56 million. He seems to be flexible in terms of dollars, but he seems intent on a longer term. Letang likely covets a long term deal much like Ryan Suter inked with the Minnesota Wild last summer, but in a post-lockout league that just built a brand-new CBA on the regrets of excessively long deals, he may have delusions of grandeur. In fact, due to the new CBA the longest contract Letang could sign would be eight years with Pittsburgh.

The Montreal-native posted 38 points from the Pens’ blue line this season, tying him with Norris winner P.K. Subban for the most by a defenseman.  He also enjoyed a dominant start to the playoffs, putting up 13 points in the first two rounds before the Penguins were steamrolled by the Boston Bruins.

Hardly a conservative defenseman, Letang was repeatedly exploited by the Bruins, who turned his bad positioning into goals. Failing to muster a point in the series while registering a minus-6 rating, Letang likely saw his stock drop, but there remains plenty of interest around the league.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Letang would prefer to land in Toronto, where the young Maple Leafs are finally emerging as a contender. If Toronto can seal the deal, Letang would join newly acquired Jonathan Bernier on a team that nearly knocked out the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.

Those very Bruins could be very busy in their own right on draft day. The Eastern Conference Champions will wait until pick number 60 to make their first selection of the day, but they are positioning themselves for an aggressive afternoon. With top-six wingers Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr leaving Boston, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is reportedly listening to offers that could shake up his lineup.

After a disappointing season, 21-year-old Tyler Seguin has found himself at the center of trade talks. Drafted second overall in 2010, Seguin won the Stanley Cup as a rookie and emerged as Boston’s leader in goals and points in 2011-12. After a stellar sophomore campaign that promised impending superstardom, Seguin regressed severely this season.

Despite leading all locked-out NHL players in goals while playing in Switzerland last fall, Seguin simply could not find the net this season. Seguin finished the year with just 16 goals and 32 points, and he dropped off even more dramatically in the playoffs, scoring just one goal in 22 games.

Seguin did look strong in the Stanley Cup Finals with four assists, but his inability to score was baffling. Demoted to Boston’s third line, the winger seems to be mired in a drought of confidence, but his skill remains readily apparent at times. Even when he hasn’t been scoring, Seguin has been a remarkably efficient player, posting a plus-53 over the last two seasons.

Still just 21, the speedy winger can hardly be classified as a bust just yet, and he has plenty of time left to establish himself. The Calgary Flames are reportedly the front-runners in the Seguin sweepstakes at the moment. The Canadian club is reportedly willing to part with the sixth overall pick and then some to get their man according to Christian Roatis.

The Flames could sweeten the pot with former-Boston College star Johnny Gaudreau. The undersized winger helped lead the United States to a surprising victory at January’s World Junior Championships in Russia and he could be a goal-scorer at the NHL-level fairly soon.

If the rumors involving Calgary’s Seguin bid are true, it proves that there are no hard feelings between Peter Chiarelli and Flames GM Jay Feaster after the Jarome Iginla deal fell through in April. With three picks in the first round, Feaster will likely spend most of the day glued to his telephone as he searches for Iginla’s replacement.

For now its all just speculation, but with the first round nearly upon us, clarity should be coming soon. Stay tuned to SJN for analysis of all of the draft day action.

author avatar
Chris Blanchard
Chris Blanchard is a Boston, MA native and a student at Davidson College. He began writing about hockey as a Boston Bruins featured columnist for Bleacher Report in the fall of 2012. He has been covering the NHL for XN Sports since May of 2013. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');