Report: Letang eyes Leafs if Pens talks fizzle

Kris Letang took part in his first full practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins since suffering a stroke in late January.

Hockey Hearsay compiles stories from around the hockey world and runs weekdays, 12 months a year.


The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review makes it crystal clear defenceman Kris Letang’s preference is to stay and play for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Again: He is NOT looking to leave Pittsburgh.

The issue may be that Letang also wants to play for a team that thinks he is its best rearguard and sources indicate he has grown uneasy about his standing within the organization. The Tribune-Review recently reported that some members of management and coaches rated Paul Martin as the Penguins’ best defenceman last year.

When it comes to discussions for a potential contract extension, Letang’s agent, Kent Hughes, said he and Penguins general manager Ray Shero are “still talking.”

“No resolution at this point.”

Both Shero and Letang’s camp have repeatedly reiterated their desire to reach a long-term deal, but sources tell The Tribune-Review Toronto has emerged as a potential destination if there is a breaking point with the Penguins.

But, the sources continued, the Penguins would be seeking an NHL-ready player under contract, at least one top prospect and a potential first round pick.

The Trib’s Rob Rossi was on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Wednesday evening discussing his story. Important to note for Leafs’ fans is that Rossi made sure to reiterate he’s not saying the Leafs have spoken with the Penguins. Also, just because Toronto might be Letang’s preferred destination, that doesn’t mean this trade would happen. The Penguins want something they could be swayed by.

Nonetheless, the days leading up to Sunday’s draft have just become infinitely more interesting for Leafs fans who are already anxiously awaiting Dave Nonis’s next move.


The Dallas Morning News notes new Stars head coach Lindy Ruff recently joined Elf & Slater on 105.3 The Fan.

On possibly bringing Mike Modano back as a player: “I think that’s something you have to evaluate. There is lots of examples of players in that category that have come back and played as long as the player in that category pays attention to his fitness level and has an elite level of conditioning, which I’ve seen players that get to that point. They can be effective players in today’s game, and that’s whether the legs underneath you can still carry you to the places you need to go on the ice.”

On if he anticipates having a good relationship with Modano: “I don’t see why not. I get advice from a lot of people even when it comes to getting to know players better and former players that are around, my experience even here in Buffalo with some of the alumni members and some of the key players in this franchise was to listen. I think stepping in new, there is a lot to learn from the people around inside the organization, inside that management group and from former players.”

RANGERS, LUNDQVIST EXTENSION TALKS PLANNED reports talks for a long-term extension for former Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist have not yet begun, though the two sides are expected to begin contract discussions this weekend.

“I will be speaking with Glen Sather at the Draft concerning an agenda for Henrik’s status,” Lundqvist’s agent Don Meehan told via email on Wednesday.

Lundqvist cannot even officially ink an extension until July — the 31-year-old netminder won’t become an unrestricted free agent next summer — though Lundqvist’s camp, Newport Sports, and Sather can forge the parameters of an agreement beforehand.


Fire & Ice relays that a source told The Record Wednesday that potential unrestricted free agent forward Dainius Zubrus has agreed to terms to remain with the Devils on a three-year contract for approximately $3 million per season.

The deal has not been signed yet and it could take a few more days before it’s announced. Zubrus confirmed his agent, Jerrold Colton, has been involved in contract negoatiations with Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, but denied the deal is completed.

“Nothing is finalized yet,” Zubrus said Wednesday from Florida. “It’s not a done deal. They have talked and all of that stuff I take it as a very positive in hoping that everything is going to go through.”

He reiterated today his desire to remain a Devil.

“As I said at the end of the year, my first choice is staying where I am. That hasn’t changed,” he said. “I feel the same way. As of now, I’m still a Devil. My agent and Lou have talked. They’re still talking and, hopefully, this is going to get done.”

HORTON’S HOMETOWN DISCOUNT FOR BRUINS? reports that a source close to Nathan Horton indicated that the power forward will be looking for a 5-6 year deal in the range of $5.5-6 million per year if he hits the open market July 5. Based on his age (28), his production, and his ability to truly elevate his game during the playoffs, he should get it.

That same source indicated to that Horton would likely take a bit less to remain in Boston, provided he’s given the term he’s looking for in a deal. Horton is comfortable as a supporting player in Boston, rather than the face of a franchise.


Newsday observes that as the draft approaches on Sunday and free agency on July 5, the Isles goaltending situation is unsettled. Evgeni Nabokov, who started 41 of 48 games last season and all six playoff games, appears headed to the open market, despite the two sides being relatively close to agreement on a one-year deal.

The Islanders held talks with the Kings about goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who was dealt to the Leafs on Sunday.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes with Kevin Shattenkirk and Patrik Berglund signed, the Blues’ restricted free agents still remaining are Alex Pietrangelo, Chris Stewart, Kris Russell and Jake Allen.

Once the free-agency period begins, the Blues’ RFAs will be permitted to receive offer sheets from other clubs. But GM Doug Armstrong, who has indicated that the team would match any outside offer, doesn’t seem fazed that the process could go past July 5.

“Whether (the RFAs are signed) in June, July, August, some of these might go all the way to November … you never know,” Armstrong said. “Both sides have to sign on the dotted line when they’re happy.

“Sometimes it happens early and sometimes it doesn’t happen until the season starts. You can’t really get frustrated and force something that both sides aren’t comfortable with.”


When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.