Longtime Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang told reporters he wants to retire with the club alongside fellow core members Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as he prepares to enter a contract year.
Following the Pens' first-round elimination by the New York Islanders in six games, Letang said he's yet to speak with Pittsburgh's front office about an extension but doesn't want to play anywhere else.
The 34-year-old is finishing up an eight-year, $58 million deal. Malkin is also scheduled to reach unrestricted free agency in 2022 after completing an eight-year, $76 million deal. Crosby, meanwhile, is still under contract through 2025.
Each of the three franchise cornerstones have spent their entire NHL careers with the Penguins, helping the club win three Stanley Cups.
In 15 seasons with the Pens, Letang has played 863 games with 582 points (134 goals, 448 assists) and 1,286 blocked shots. He's been named an All-Star in six seasons
His 5.7 defensive point shares in 2010-11 rank as the third-best season by a Pittsburgh defenseman in team history and he leads the time in all-time defensive point shares at 45.7.
Whether or not he can maintain that level of play entering his age-34 season remains to be seen. Most long-time defensemen who have stayed in the league into their late 30's and 40's have done so by changing their style of play. Chris Chelios is a prime example of someone who developed into a steady stay-home defenseman by taking shorter shifts and focusing his efforts on clearing the puck out of his zone.
Yet Chelios wasn't able to finish his career with one team.
Letang, the Penguins' 62nd overall pick in 2005, has made clear he wants to only play in Pittsburgh.
That might require him—and Malkin—to take a pay cut depending on where the salary cap is after next season and how competitive Pittsburgh is up until that point.
This marked the second time in three years the Pens didn't advance out of the first round of the postseason. Last year the club failed to advance out of the qualifying round inside the league's bubble.
That leaves the front office with plenty to consider as their core pieces begin entering the later stages of their careers.