bdevido wrote:what would make anyone in their right mind suggest vokoun won't be here next year? he better be when fleury lapses into another playoff rut.
I didn't see anybody say to not bring Vokoun back next year. Letang and Vokoun are both signed for next season. It's the year after that where both would need a new contract. At that point I wouldn't re-sign Vokoun. That's an approximate $1.5M savings. If Fleury sucks again then I doubt he's still around and you probably saved yourself even more. By not bringing back Vokoun and Niskanen when their contracts expire and replacing them with entry level contracts you save yourself almost $3M that could go towards Letang's raise. Add in the cap likely going up that season and maybe you can keep Letang without losing anyone of significance.
That will depend on what Dupuis gets this year and what Orpik and Kunitz want next off season. Personally if what Letang wants is in the $6.5 to $7.2M range, I sign him and risk losing Orpik/Kunitz/Dupuis. It would hurt short term, but if you don't give Letang a no trade clause you can always move him a few years later for younger more affordable forwards once the young d men have had time to develop.
After Crosby and Malkin, Letang is the best player on this team. If he's willing to sign a reasonable contract then trading him to keep guys like Dupuis, Kunitz, and Orpik doesn't make much sense to me. He's better, younger, and harder to replace than them.
To me Crosby, Malkin, and Letang are the core. With Neal's contract he's close. The rest are changeable. Some guys it would hurt to lose for a year or two, but they would still be a playoff team easily. You don't want to lose Letang long term. Look at their record without him in the lineup. It's ugly. He is the transition game. He's young. Lock him up and sort out the rest of the complimentary guys later. Some day he may become expendable, but today is not that day. I think part of Letang's turnover issue is Bylsma's system is to get the puck forward quickly. Well if you do that you are bound to mess up now and then. That said I do think he jumps into the play too often and gets caught. That's easily correctable. You can't teach skill. He's got loads of it. You can teach when to and not to pinch. The man puts up points at a rate few defensemen have in the last 20 years. The Pens will miss that a lot more than most of you seem to think if they trade him, much like they missed Staal in the playoffs this year.