PITTSBURGH (KDKA/93-7 The FAN) — The Penguins traded center Mark Letestu to Columbus Tuesday for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

With the return of captain Sidney Crosby looming and strong play of other centers on the team, Penguins GM Ray Shero told the Post-Gazette that the trade was necessary.

“The play of Richard Park and Joe Vitale, in particular, pushed Mark down a little bit,” Shero said.

Shero went on to insist that the trade has no reflection on whether or not Crosby will return Friday against Dallas — a date many have been pointing to as his likely return.

Letestu played in 11 games for the Penguins this year, registering one assist and a minus-6 rating. Letestu won 55.3 percent of his faceoffs.

Letestu joined the Penguins in 2007 as an undrafted free agent. In parts of three seasons with the Penguins, Letestu played in 85 games, scoring 15 goals and 14 assists.

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