Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Kris Letang Jersey Card

(As per years past, this is a twin-post with my "regular" blog, where I predicted the Pittsburgh Penguins would finish third in the Metropolitan Division in 2019-20).

Every season where the Penguins fail to reach the Stanley Cup Final is considered a failure, and each time the insane rumours take over the off-season: the Pens needs to change their core, Evgeni Malkin and/or Kristopher Letang will be traded for cap relief and/or a new player who will bring depth and/or a breath of fresh air in the locker room.

And it's not like nothing ever came of it: former #1 goalie Marc-André Fleury is now helping the Vegas Golden Knights win their own first Cup, and just this summer, super-sniper Phil Kessel was traded for Alex Galchenyuk in one of those "clear the air" deals. Both Fleury and Kessel deserved serious Conn Smythe consideration in the last two successful Pens Cup runs, and Kessel was robbed of the 2016 trophy by petty hometown journalists who wanted Crosby to tie Malkin and run their own narrative while punishing the media-avoiding Kessel; every voter that didn't come from Pittsburgh had Kessel first and Crosby no higher than third, and many times Letang was ahead or in lieu of Crosby on their ballots as well.

But I digress.

The 2019-20 season will soon begin and Letang will once again line up on Pittsburgh's blue line in his familiar #58 when it does. And when he retires, they will take his number out of circulation and he'll have been the only player in team history to wear it in a regular-season game.

And the way Norris voters seem to go, it's pretty obvious that the next year in which he suits up for 75 games or more, he'll get the award for Best Defenseman as well, having finished in the top-10 six times already, including finishing 6th l;ast season despite suiting up in just 65 games (during which he found enough time to collect 16 goals, 40 assists, 56 points, a +13 rating and 48 penalty minutes, while driving the play forward in a nearly 54% proportion - by far the best on the team.

He's also been on the end-of-season Second All-Star Team twice, a huge deal when bridging the eras of Nicklas Lidstrom/Scott Niedermayer/Zdeno Chara/Shea Weber and Erik Karlsson/Victor Hedman/Drew Doughty/P.K. Subban.

And, of course, he trumps them all with three Cups.

Here he is wearing the Pens' black (home) uniform from the 2007-16 era on card #GJ-LE from Upper Deck's 2015-16 Series 2 set and UD Game Jersey sub-set:
It features a white game-worn jersey swatch that probably came from the away uniform.

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