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Forbes NHL Analyst Mike Colligan: “Letang Can Definitely Push 8 Million”

(Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Forbes SportsMoney NHL analyst Mike Colligan joined The Fan Morning Show Friday to break down how Evgeni Malkin’s eight-year, $76 million extension might affect the future of the Penguins roster.

He feels that the Penguins certainly still have the ability to keep Kris Letang, but points out that this would leave them with very little cap room available to devote towards the many holes they’ve yet to fill.

He expects players to get a surprisingly large amount of money in upcoming free agent deals, given that they can’t sign contracts with a longer term than eight years under the rules of the new CBA.

He doesn’t feel that Malkin’s contract tells us much about what Letang and other stars will get, given that Malkin wanted to stay in Pittsburgh. In Letang’s case, he thinks this could result in the star defenseman getting even more than $8 million per season.

He doesn’t feel that the Penguins have a championship-caliber defense if they trade Letang and fail to acquire an adequate replacement (as they did when they got Brandon Sutter in the Jordan Staal deal).

He pointed out that the Pens’ young (and thus affordable) talent helps them out in this situation, and that the cap is likely to rise as time passes, perhaps reaching $90 million once we get to the back end of long-term deals signed this off-season.

The interview can be heard here: