What's Letang worth? - 06-20-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

About the only thing anyone can accurate predict with contract negotiations involving Kris Letang and the Penguins is that he's going to get paid a lot of money one way or another by someone.

But how much?

At 26, Letang is just entering what is considered the prime years of a players' career. Combine that with his unique blend of speed, offensive acumen and physical play, he's one of the best players in the NHL, regardless of position. On the free market, he could easily command on of the top salaries in the NHL.

Where does he rank among his peers? There are various metrics you can examine. Here are three.


Offensive production is often-times, the most common measure of a player. While hardly an all-encompassing statistic, points are hard to get in the NHL these days, especially for defensmen. Letang, along with Montreal's P.K. Subban, the Norris Trophy winner, each led the league with 38 points this past season. Here are the salary cap hit for the NHL's ten leading point producers among defensemen this past season:

Player, team Age Games
Salary Cap
P.K. Subban Canadiens 24 42 11-27-38 $2,875,000-R
Kris Letang, Penguins 26 35 5-33-38 $3,500,000-R
Ryan Suter, Predators 28 48 4-28-32 $7,538,462-N
Andrei Markov, Canadiens 34 48 10-20-30 $5,750,000-N
Keith Yandle, Coyotes 26 48 10-20-30 $5,250,000-R
Niklas Kronwall, Red Wings 32 48 5-24-29 $4,750,000-N
Kimmo Timonen, Flyers 38 45 5-24-29 $6,000,000-N
Cody Franson, Maple Leafs 25 45 4-25-29 $1,200,000-R
Shea Weber, Predators 27 48 9-19-28 $7,857,143-R
Dion Phaneuf, Maple Leafs 28 48 9-19-28 $6,500,000-R
Average Cap Hit $5,122,061

R-Signed current contract as a restricted free agent.
N-Has some form of a no-movement or no-trade clause in his contract.

Time On Ice

A slightly more telling statistics is time on ice. Presumably, the more minutes, the more trusted a player is in all situations including defensive scenarios. Here are the salary cap hits for defenseman with the top ten average time on ice this past season:

Player, team Age Average Time
On Ice
Salary Cap
Ryan Suter, Wild 28 27:16 $7,538,462-N
Erik Karlsson, Senators 23 27:09 $6,500,000-RN
Brian Campbell, Panthers 34 26:25 $7,142,875-N
Drew Doughty, Kings 23 26:23 $7,000,000-R
Jack Johnson, Blue Jackets 26 25:58 $4,357,143-R
Shea Weber, Predators 27 25:55 $7,857,143-R
Kris Letang, Penguins 26 25:38 $3,500,000-R
Dan Girardi, Rangers 29 25:24 $3,325,000-R
Paul Martin, Penguins 32 25:19 $5,000,000-N
Christian Ehrhoff, Sabres 30 25:11 $4,000,000-N
Average Salary Cap Hit $5,622,062

R-Signed current contract as a restricted free agent.
N-Has some form of a no-movement or no-trade clause in his contract.

Puck Possession

A newer but still developing metric are advanced statistics. Hockey's answer to baseball's "Moneyball" formula, the most common hockey analytic is Corsi.

Named after Sabres goaltending coach Jim Corsi who devised the formula, Corsi is a summation of shots and attempted shots for and against. Presumably, the better the player, the more that number is swayed in his favor. Ideally, if you or your team are strong at puck possession, your Corsi number will reflect that.

Here are the NHL's top five-on-five Corsi numbers from this past season for defensemen who averaged at least 17 minutes of five-on-five play during games. The number indicates how many shots and attempted shots a players' team attempt or allow on average per every 60 minutes that player is on the ice:

Player, team Age Corsi 2013-14
Salary Cap
Drew Doughty, Kings 23 +14.84 $7,000,000-R
Andy Greene, Devils 30 +10.32 $3,000,0000
Kris Letang, Penguins 26 +9.20 $3,500,000-R
Slava Voynov, Kings 23 +8.97 $4,166,667-R
Johnny Boychuk, Bruins
29 +8.53 $3,336,667-N
Sergei Gonchar, Stars 39 +7.69 $5,000,000-N
Dan Hamhuis, Canucks 30 +7.66 $4.500,000-N
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Sharks 26 +7.16 $4,250,000-N
Ryan McDonagh, Rangers 24 +6.98 $1,300,000-E
Marc Methot, Senators 27 +5.70 $3,000,000-R
Average Salary Cap Hit $3,908,333

R-Signed current contract as a restricted free agent.
N-Has some form of a no-movement or no-trade clause in his contract.
E-Entry-level contract


-Voynov signed his new deal last week. Terms regarding any sort of no-movement or no-trade clauses have not been reported.
-Gonchar was traded to the Stars earlier this month after spending the previous three seasons with the Senators.
-All salary information is from

(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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