Underrated Kris Letang an Elite Defenseman

underrated kris letang
SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 12: Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is pursued by Melker Karlsson #68 of the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game Six of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center on June 12, 2016 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Ask any knowledgeable hockey fan about the underrated Kris Letang and a variety of replies are bound to come back. Some will be positive, and the others will be negative. Whichever it may be, one fact should be established about Letang:  he is greatly underappreciated within the NHL. Look at the recent breakdown of top ten defensemen by NESN, and Letang barely slides in at number nine. Some analysts would place him a bit higher on that list.

It may be a bit questioning why Letang is ranks so low, but a bit of research was put into why the veteran was ranked ninth on the list.

Underrated Kris Letang Climbing Back to the Top

A History of Injuries

The first reason why Letang would rank ninth is his history of injuries. In the past couple of years, Letang suffered a foot infection, two concussions and last but certainly not least a stroke caused by a small hole in his heart.

All of these injuries sidelined Letang for various amounts of time, with the longest being the stroke. Now one might argue that injuries sideline players throughout the league, and that doesn’t impact where they rank regarding fantasy or league standard. However, this is not the only reason  Letang places lower than he should on defensemen lists.

There is also the factor of his attitude many would consider Letang to be a bit of a smart-aleck at times. He has the tendency to be hot-headed, and will often dispute the refs’ calls which have gotten him a game misconduct on a couple of occasions.

There is also the factor of his attitude many would consider Letang to be a bit smart-alecky at times. He has the tendency to be hot headed sometimes and will often dispute the refs’ calls. There is nothing wrong with a passion for the game as long as it is well placed. Granted Letang has reined it in in the last few years, but that fire is still there.

The last and main reason Letang is underrated would be that he uses his speed and puck moving ability rather than his strength to make plays happen. This is fairly uncommon among defensemen other than those like Brent Burns, who throw checks instead of relying on speed and one’s ability to move the puck. Yes, checking is an important part of being a defenseman but to be a great defenseman there is more to it.

Overall people need to take a closer look at Letang’s numbers, there is the reason he is the Penguins second-highest scoring defenseman of all-time only after Paul Coffey. When fans look for a top two-way defenseman, they should look no further than the underrated Kris Letang.

Main Photo.


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