The Pittsburgh Penguins are prioritizing signing defenceman Kris Letang to a multi-year contract extension this off-season, according to Rob Rossi of The Athletic.
Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said last month he wants to see both Letang and fellow unrestricted free agent Evgeni Malkin retire with Pittsburgh. Rossi adds, however, that the Penguins are focusing on the price of keeping Letang before intensifying talks with Malkin.
Letang, 35, posted 10 goals and a career-high 68 points in 78 games this season while playing out the last of a an eight-year, $58 million contract that carried a cap hit of $7.25 million. He added one goal and four points in seven playoff games as the Penguins were eliminated in the first round by the New York Rangers.
Selected in the third round of the 2005 draft, Letang made his debut with the Penguins during the 2006-07 season. In 941 career games with the team, he has 144 goals and 650 points. He is a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the team, having missed the 2017 playoffs due to injury.
Malkin, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the team, posted 20 goals and 42 points in 41 games this season after undergoing knee surgery last summer. He added three goals and six points in seven playoff games.
The 35-year-old centre, who was selected second overall in 2004, has 444 goals and 1,146 points in 981 games with the Penguins. He is coming off an eight-year, $76 million contract which carried a cap hit of $9.5 million.
Pittsburgh has $23.2 million in cap space this off-season, per CapFriendly, after re-signing Bryan Rust to a six-year, $30.75 million extension last month. Goaltender Casey DeSmith is also among the team's pending unrestricted free agents, while Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen are scheduled for restricted free agency.