NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Kris Letang, Nikita Gusev, More

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2019

The Penguins are taking trade calls about long-time defenseman Kris Letang.
The Penguins are taking trade calls about long-time defenseman Kris Letang.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in the process of putting together their roster for the 2019-20 season, and they may not have long-time defenseman Kris Letang on the team when training camp opens.

The Penguins are taking calls on Letang's availability, according to a report from Rob Rossi of The Athletic.

Multiple league sources have said that Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford is taking calls about the team's top defenseman.

Letang has been a five-time all-star for the team, and he has provided substantial offense from the blue line to complement superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. 

If the Penguins move Letang, they would want an impact player with additional years on the contract, according to Rossi.

Letang is known for his skating ability and his skill at jumping into the offensive attack. He scored 16 goals and added 40 assists last season in 65 games. The 32-year-old has been troubled by injuries in recent seasons, and he played just 41 games in 2016-17 and 37 games in 2013-14.

The Vegas Golden Knights are counting on Nikita Gusev to upgrade their offense after he had a strong season in the Kontinental Hockey League with 17 goals and 65 assists in 62 games.

The 26-year-old Gusev has already played nine seasons in the KHL.

While Gusev is getting ready for his first season with the Golden Knights, teams are calling Vegas to see if he is available in a trade, according to TSN NHL insider Darren Dreger.

Gusev is a restricted free agent, but he is not eligible to sign with another team, per Justin Emerson of the Las Vegas Sun.

The issue for the Golden Knights is getting William Karlsson to sign an extension with the team. The Knights may need to create room to sign Karlsson, and a trade of the Russian import may help them do it.

Based on Gusev's outstanding production in the KHL, a contract of $3 million or more would be in range. That would cause issues for the Knights, since the salary cap is $83 million for the 2019-20 season and they are already over that number.

Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers is scheduled to be a restricted free agent July 1, and the likelihood is that the Rangers will trade him rather than sign him to a new deal.

The Rangers and Kreider's representatives have not yet discussed an extension, according to veteran NHL writer Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

Kreider is a speedy forward who scored 28 goals and 24 assists last season, and he has scored 20 goals or more four times in his career.