Mark Letestu

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Mark Letestu
Mark Letestu 1 2012-02-26.JPG
With the Blue Jackets in 2012.
Born (1985-02-04) February 4, 1985 (age 29)
Elk Point, AB, CAN
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Columbus Blue Jackets
Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 2007–present

Mark Letestu (born February 4, 1985) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player and alternate captain for the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League.

Playing career[edit]

Letestu played three seasons of junior hockey with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, before playing one season at Western Michigan of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. During the 2005–06 season with the Pontiacs, Letestu led the AJHL in scoring with 105 points (50 goals, 55 assist) in 58 games and was named the league's most valuable player.[1] While at Western Michigan during the 2006–07 season, Letestu was sixth in goals, fourteenth in points, and first in the NCAA with five short handed goals.[1]

After playing at Western Michigan, Letestu was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 22, 2007. He appeared in three regular and two post-season games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh's American Hockey League affiliate, when he joined the team at the end of the 2006–07 season. In 2007–08 he appeared in 52 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and six games with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL. He then spent the entire 2008–09 season in the AHL. The Penguins re-signed Letestu to a two-year contract in March 2009.[1]

Mark Letestu's first NHL goal

On November 14, 2009, Letestu made his NHL debut with the Penguins against the Boston Bruins. He made another appearance with the Penguins before being returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Letestu was called up again on December 5 and played that night against the Chicago Blackhawks. He played 13 minutes, 52 seconds, and won a faceoff against John Madden that set up a tying goal by Jordan Staal with 31 seconds remaining.[2]

On February 1, 2010, Letestu scored his first NHL goal against Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, 47 seconds into the first period. The goal was assisted by Tyler Kennedy and Kris Letang.[3] Letestu was one of seven Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players recalled by Pittsburgh after the AHL Penguins were eliminated in the first round of the 2010 Calder Cup playoffs.[4] He appeared in his first NHL playoff game in the Penguins second round series against the Montreal Canadiens on May 4, when he replaced the injured Staal as the third-line center between Kennedy and Matt Cooke.[5] In Game 5 on May 8, Letestu recorded his first NHL playoff point with an assist on a second period goal by Sergei Gonchar.[6]

Letestu (#38) takes a face-off against Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals
Letestu with the Penguins in 2011

Letestu began the 2010–11 season with the Penguins after delivering a very strong training camp and preseason. He finished preseason play with a goal and five assists in five games. "I worked hard this summer...the praise is nice but it's only as good as your last game. I just need to keep playing the way I have been and hopefully force somebody to keep me here," said Letestu after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks at the new Consol Energy Center.[7] He began the 2010–11 NHL regular season equally as strong, scoring game-winning goals in two of his first three games, being named one of the Stars of the Game against Montreal and the New Jersey Devils. Letestu was then named No. 1 star against the Ottawa Senators on October 18, 2010 after scoring a power-play goal and assisting on Evgeni Malkin's goal by winning a faceoff in the Ottawa zone. The performance gave him seven points in his first seven games. "He has really made an impact for us," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.[8]

However, Letestu's production dipped into November, as he went 22 consecutive games without scoring a goal. On December 8, 2010, Letestu finally broke the scoring drought with the first multi-goal game of his NHL career, scoring twice against the Toronto Maple Leafs.[9] Letestu signed a two-year contract extension with the Penguins on January 18, 2011 worth an average annual value of $625,000 for the term of the deal. At the time, he was 10th among all NHL rookies in scoring (19 points) and had scored three game-winning goals.[10]

On November 8, 2011, Letestu was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a fourth-round pick.[11]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2002–03 Bonnyville Pontiacs AJHL 11 7 1 8 0
2003–04 Bonnyville Pontiacs AJHL 58 22 27 49 24
2004–05 Bonnyville Pontiacs AJHL 63 39 47 86 32
2005–06 Bonnyville Pontiacs AJHL 58 50 55 105 59
2006–07 Western Michigan CCHA 37 24 22 46 14
2006–07 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2
2007–08 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 52 6 12 18 28 13 0 3 3 0
2007–08 Wheeling Nailers ECHL 6 1 2 3 4
2008–09 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 73 24 37 61 6 12 2 8 10 4
2009–10 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 63 21 34 55 21 4 0 3 3 0
2009–10 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 10 1 0 1 2 4 0 1 1 0
2010–11 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 64 14 13 27 21 7 0 1 1 0
2011–12 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 11 0 1 1 2
2011–12 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 51 11 13 24 6
2012–13 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 46 13 14 27 10
2013–14 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 82 12 22 34 20 6 1 1 2 0
NHL totals 264 51 63 114 53 17 1 3 4 0
AHL totals 191 51 83 134 55 31 2 14 16 6

Awards and honours[edit]

Award Year Ref
All-CCHA Rookie Team 2006–07

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Pittsburgh Penguins Re-Sign Forward Mark Letestu". Pittsburgh Penguins. March 27, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ Molinari, Dave (December 7, 2009). "Penguins' Letestu does good job filling in for Crosby". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sabres at Penguins – Boxscore". February 1, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Penguins Recall Seven Players". Pittsburgh Penguins. April 28, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ Molinari, Dave (May 6, 2010). "Penguins' Letestu fills role as fill-in". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Box Score - Canadiens at Penguins". National Hockey League. May 8, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Notebook: Letestu Makes His Case". penguins.com. September 28, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Sidney Crosby, Pens' three-goal first ruin Sergei Gonchar's return". ESPN. October 18, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Penguins on second-longest winning streak in franchise history". ESPN. December 8, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Penguins Sign Center Mark Letestu to Two-Year Contract Extension". Pittsburgh Penguins. January 18, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Blue Jackets acquire Mark Letestu". Columbus Blue Jackets. November 8, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Jeff Lerg
CCHA Rookie of the Year
2006–07
Succeeded by
Max Pacioretty