Another Penguins defenseman is injured. This time it’s their best blueliner, Kris Letang.
Kris Letang suffered a lower-body injury in the first period of Saturday night’s game against the New York Rangers and didn’t return. Sidney Crosby scored the game-winner in OT for the Penguins, which won 5-4.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said Letang was being evaluated and didn’t have a status update after the game.
The injury occurred with less than 11 minutes remaining in the first period when Letang was in a puck battle with Adam Fox. He appeared to be in pain following the play and went off the ice with head athletic trainer Chris Stewart:
If Letang is out for any meaningful time outside this game, it would be another blow to a thin defensive corps. Pittsburgh is already without Brian Dumoulin (their No. 2 defenseman) as he’s week-to-week. They’re also without Mike Matheson who’s out for a few more weeks, as well as Marcus Pettersson, and Juuso Riikola. Riikola is considered longer-term while Pettersson is considered week-to-week.
Overall, that’s four of Pittsburgh’s projected top six on defensemen who are injured. On Wednesday, the Penguins signed Yannick Weber off the street as they were in desperate need of another defenseman. They may need to sign someone else or make a trade for a defender if this one is serious. One option includes Blues defenseman Vince Dunn, who the Penguins were close on before Jim Rutherford resigned. Dunn has been struggling this year for St. Louis.
The other is potentially Travis Dermott, who was expected to take the next step for Toronto this season but hasn’t yet. Head coach Mike Sullivan will likely have an update on Letang’s status shortly and he’ll likely say, “He’s being evaluated.” If he’s out for Monday’s game, look for John Marino to play on the top pairing with P-O Joseph.