Kris Letang

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Kris Letang
Kris Letang faceoff 2011-11-12.JPG
Letang with the Penguins in 2011.
Born (1987-04-24) April 24, 1987 (age 27)
Montreal, QC, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 201 lb (91 kg; 14 st 5 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Right
NHL team Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL Draft 62nd overall, 2005
Pittsburgh Penguins[1]
Playing career 2006–present

Kristopher Allen Letang (born April 24, 1987) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman currently playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL). He played juniors in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for three seasons, during which time he was selected 62nd overall by the Penguins in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. In his second full NHL season, Letang won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh. Internationally, he has competed for Canada at the under-18 and under-20 levels, winning back-to-back gold medals at the World Junior Championships in 2006 and 2007.

Playing career[edit]

Letang played major junior hockey for the Val-d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL for three seasons. After recording 32 points in his junior rookie season, he was named to the QMJHL and the CHL All-Rookie Team.[2] That summer, he was drafted in the 3rd round, 62nd overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The next season, a 68-point effort in just 60 games earned him QMJHL First Team All-Star honours.[2]

Making the Penguins out of training camp, Letang made his NHL debut in the 2006–07 season. He scored his first NHL goal in his third game, against Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers in a 6-5 win.[3] However, after two goals in seven games, Letang was scratched twice and then returned to Val-d'Or for further development.[4] Playing in his third season with Val-d'Or, Letang led the Foreurs to the 2007 QMJHL Finals with 31 points in the post-season, only to be swept by Lewiston in four games. Upon the Foreurs' elimination, he was assigned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL), who was in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs,[5] and recorded an assist in his only game. At the season's end, he was the recipient of three major QMJHL awards. In addition to receiving the Emile Bouchard Trophy, as the best defenceman, and the Paul Dumont Trophy, as the best personality, Letang also received the Kevin Lowe Trophy, as the best defensive defenceman, indicative of Letang's abilities on both ends of the ice.

After beginning the 2007–08 season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Letang was quickly recalled by Pittsburgh after recording 7 points in 10 games in the minors. Letang excelled in his rookie season with Pittsburgh, and was invited to the 2008 NHL YoungStars Game during All-Star weekend along with teammate Tyler Kennedy.[6] He completed the season with 17 points in 63 games, sixth among rookie defencemen. Making his NHL playoff debut, Letang helped the Penguins to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals where they were defeated in six games by the Detroit Red Wings.

Letang in November 2008.

Going into the 2008–09 season, the Penguins' top two defencemen, Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney were both put on the long-term injured reserve, immediately increasing Letang's responsibilities on the team's blueline. He was placed on the Penguins top defensive pairing with Brooks Orpik, replacing Gonchar.[7] The increased playing time resulted in a 10-goal, 33-point season, leading all team defencemen.[8] During the season, Letang was also invited to his second NHL YoungStars Game during the 2009 All-Star weekend in his hometown of Montreal, playing for the Sophomores team.

After the Penguins eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, Letang scored his first career NHL playoff goal in game three of the second round against the Washington Capitals on May 6, 2009, in overtime.[9] Letang's playing status for the game had been uncertain due to a suspected shoulder injury resulting from a Mike Green hit received in game three.[10] Nevertheless, his game-winning goal cut the Capitals' series lead to 2–1, helping Pittsburgh overcome the initial 2–0 series deficit and win in seven games. Advancing to the Finals, they met the Red Wings for the second consecutive year. Letang scored one goal in the series, in Game 3, helping the Penguins defeat the Red Wings in seven games. They won the Stanley Cup on June 12, 2009, winning the deciding game 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena. Letang finished the post-season with 4 goals and 13 points over 23 games.

The following season, Letang recorded a career-low 3 goals to go with 24 assists. Late in the regular season, Letang signed a four-year contract extension through to the 2013–14 season on March 30, 2010, worth an annual $3.5 million. Going into the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs as defending champions, the Penguins were eliminated in the second round by the Montreal Canadiens. Letang surpassed his regular season goals total with five tallies in 13 post-season games, along with 2 assists for 7 points.

With the departure of the Penguins' top defenceman, Sergei Gonchar, the following summer, Letang assumed a larger role with the club in 2010–11. Enjoying a career year, he was voted in as a starter for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina. With a career-high 50 points (8 goals and 42 assists), Letang finished the season as the second-highest scorer for the Penguins, behind Sidney Crosby. His efforts helped the Penguins to the fourth-best record in the league with 49 wins and 106 points despite long-term injuries to the team's top three centres – Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal. Matching up against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, Pittsburgh lost the series in seven games; Letang had four assists.

On January 23, 2012, Letang made the NHL 2012 All-Star roster as an injury replacement for Dustin Byfuglien joining teammates Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. In their first round loss to the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers, Letang scored one goal and had two assists [11] while earning a game misconduct in Game 3 for fighting Kimmo Timonen.

On July 2, 2013, Letang signed an 8-year contract with Pittsburgh valued at $58 million, that goes into effect in the 2014-2015 season. Letang played in 34 games in the 2013-14 season before it was announced that he would miss 6 weeks after suffering a stroke.[12] On March 16, 2014, Dan Bylsma, head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, announced that Kris was cleared by doctors to return to full practice. [13]

International play[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for  Canada
Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Gold 2007 Sweden
Gold 2006 Canada
IIHF World U18 Championships
Silver 2005 Czech Republic

Letang debuted internationally for Team Canada in his junior rookie season during the 2005 World U18 Championships in the Czech Republic. Letang scored 4 points in 6 games in a silver medal effort, losing to the United States in the final.

The next two years, Letang competed in the World Junior Championships, earning gold in 2006 and 2007, as part of a five-year Canadian championship run. He won the first gold medal with Team Canada in Vancouver as the host country, then returned the next year in Sweden to score 6 points in 6 games as team captain.[2] Letang was named to the tournament All-Star Team, along with national teammates Carey Price and Jonathan Toews.

Personal life[edit]

Letang lost one of his closest friends, Luc Bourdon, who was a defenceman for the Vancouver Canucks, in a motorcycle accident on May 29, 2008. Letang was at the time playing in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings. He and Bourdon had been teammates in junior with the Val-d'Or Foreurs and the Canadian junior team. He had been planning on buying a motorcycle but decided against it following the death of Bourdon.[14]

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins, April 2011.
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins, March 2011.

Kris Letang has a full sister, a half sister and one half brother.

In late January, 2014, Letang complained of dizziness and nausea. Doctors determined that Letang had suffered a stroke. Tests discovered a small hole in the wall of his heart. The hole is present in all children at birth, but usually closes and seals over time. Doctors say it's possible that the hole is what led to Letang's stroke. The Penguins announced that Letang would be cleared for practice in mid-March 2014 and would be playing hockey again in 3 weeks.

Kris and his long term girlfriend Catherine Laflamme welcomed a boy on November 22, 2012 named Alexander Letang. [15]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004–05 Val-d'Or Foreurs QMJHL 70 13 19 32 117
2005–06 Val-d'Or Foreurs QMJHL 60 25 43 68 156 5 1 5 6 20
2006–07 Val-d'Or Foreurs QMJHL 40 14 38 52 74 19 12 19 31 48
2006–07 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 7 2 0 2 4
2006–07 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 1 0 1 1 2
2007–08 Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins AHL 10 1 6 7 4
2007–08 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 63 6 11 17 23 16 0 2 2 12
2008–09 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 74 10 23 33 24 23 4 9 13 26
2009–10 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 73 3 24 27 51 13 5 2 7 6
2010–11 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 82 8 42 50 101 7 0 4 4 10
2011–12 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 51 10 32 42 34 6 1 4 5 21
2012–13 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 35 5 33 38 16 15 3 13 16 8
2013–14 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 37 11 11 22 16 13 2 4 6 14
NHL totals 422 55 176 231 261 93 15 38 53 97

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2005 Canada U18 2nd 6 2 2 4 20
2006 Canada WJC 1st 6 1 2 3 2
2007 Canada WJC 1st 6 0 6 6 12
Junior totals 18 3 10 13 36

Awards[edit]

Letang is honoured as the Penguins Rookie of the Year during a pregame ceremony, April 2008.

Major Junior

NHL

International

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NHL Entry Draft Year by Year Results". National Hockey League. 
  2. ^ a b c "Kris Letang". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  3. ^ "Crosby scores in closing seconds to give Pittsburgh 6-5 win". International Herald Tribune. 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  4. ^ "Staal staying with Penguins". Sporting News. 2006-10-30. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  5. ^ "Baby Penguins pick up Letang". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  6. ^ Anderson, Shelly (2008-01-16). "Letang, Kennedy selected to play in YoungStars game". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  7. ^ "Heavier load for Letang". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  8. ^ "2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins [NHL]". Hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  9. ^ "Caps tie late but Letang rescues Penguins in OT to cut series lead to 2-1". ESPN. 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  10. ^ Molinari, Dave (2009-05-06). "Letang's OT goal gives Pens 3-2 win". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  11. ^ Kris Letang 2012 Game Log, Playoffs. Pro-Hockey-Reference.com. Retrieved 2013-June-10.
  12. ^ "Penguins announce Letang out six weeks after stroke". TSN.ca. February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  13. ^ Penguins, Pittsburgh. "Letang, Bennett Will Return to Practice Monday". Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "Penguins' Letang loses best friend in Bourdon". TSN. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  15. ^ "KRIS LETANG IS OFFICIALLY THE FATHER OF A BOY NAMED ALEXANDER". 25stanley. 2013-08-11. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 

External links[edit]