|Born||April 24, 1987 |
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||201 lb (91 kg; 14 st 5 lb)|
|NHL team||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|NHL Draft||62nd overall, 2005|
Kris Letang (born Kristopher Allen Letang on April 24, 1987) is a French Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman currently playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Kris played junior in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for three seasons during which time he was selected 62nd overall by the Penguins in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. In his second full NHL season, he won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh.
Internationally, Kris has competed for Canada at the under-18 and under-20 levels, winning back-to-back gold medals at the World Junior Championships in 2006 and 2007.
Playing Career[edit | edit source]
For three seasons, Kris played major junior hockey for the Val-d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL. After recording 32 points in his junior rookie season, he was named to the QMJHL and the CHL All-Rookie Team.
That summer, Kris was drafted in the 3rd round (62nd overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The next season, a 68-point effort in just 60 games earned him QMJHL First Team All-Star honours.
Making the Penguins out of training camp, Kris made his NHL debut in the 2006–07 season.
He scored his first NHL goal in his third game against Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers in a 6-5 win, however, after two goals in seven games, Kris was scratched twice and then returned to Val-d'Or for further development.
Playing in his third season with Val-d'Or, Kris led the Foreurs to the 2007 QMJHL Finals with 31 points in the post-season, only to be swept by Lewiston in four games.
Upon the Foreurs' elimination, he was assigned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL), who was in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs and recorded an assist in his only game.
At the season's end, Kris was the recipient of three major QMJHL awards. In addition to receiving the Emile Bouchard Trophy, as the best defenceman and the Paul Dumont Trophy, as the best personality, he also received the Kevin Lowe Trophy, as the best defensive defenceman, indicative of Kris's abilities on both ends of the ice.
After beginning the 2007–08 season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Kris was quickly recalled by Pittsburgh after recording 7 points in 10 games in the minors.
He excelled in his rookie season with Pittsburgh and was invited to the 2008 NHL YoungStars Game during All-Star weekend along with teammate Tyler Kennedy.
Kris completed the season with 17 points in 63 games, sixth among rookie defencemen. Making his NHL playoff debut, he helped the Penguins to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals where they were defeated in six games by the Detroit Red Wings.
Going into the 2008–09 season, the Penguins' top two defencemen, Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney were both put on the long-term injured reserve immediately increasing Letang's responsibilities on the team's blueline.
Kris was placed on the Penguins top defensive pairing with Brooks Orpik, replacing Gonchar. The increased playing time resulted in a 10-goal, 33-point season, leading all team defencemen.
During the season, Letang was also invited to his second NHL YoungStars Game during the 2009 All-Star weekend in his hometown of Montreal, playing for the Sophomores team.
After the Penguins eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, Kris scored his first career NHL playoff goal in game three of the second round against the Washington Capitals on May 6, 2009 in overtime.
Kris's playing status for the game had been uncertain due to a suspected shoulder injury resulting from a Mike Green hit received in game three, nevertheless, his game-winning goal cut the Capitals' series lead to 2–1, helping Pittsburgh overcome the initial 2–0 series deficit and win in seven games. Advancing to the Finals, they met the Red Wings for the second consecutive year.
Kris scored one goal in the series, in Game 3, helping the Penguins defeat the Red Wings in seven games. They won the Stanley Cup on June 12, 2009, winning the deciding game 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena. Kris finished the post-season with 4 goals and 13 points over 23 games.
The following season, Kris recorded a career-low 3 goals to go with 24 assists. Late in the regular season, on March 30, 2010, he signed a four-year contract extension through to the 2013–14 season, worth an annual $3.5 million.
Going into the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs as defending champions, the Penguins were eliminated in the second round by the Montreal Canadiens.
Kris surpassed his regular season goals total with five tallies in 13 post-season games along with 2 assists for 7 points.
With the departure of the Penguins' top defenceman Sergei Gonchar the following summer, Kris assumed a larger role with the club in 2010–11. Enjoying a career year, he was voted in as a starter for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina.
With a career-high 50 points (8 goals and 42 assists), Kris finished the season as the second-highest scorer for the Penguins, behind Sidney Crosby.
Matching up against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, Pittsburgh lost the series in seven games; Letang had four assists.
In their first round loss to the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers, he scored one goal and had two assists while earning a game misconduct in Game 3 for fighting Kimmo Timonen.
On July 2, 2013, Kris signed an 8-year contract with Pittsburgh valued at $58 million that goes into effect in the 2014-2015 season.
Kris played in 34 games in the 2013-14 season before it was announced in February of 2014 that he would miss 6 weeks after suffering from a stroke.
On March 16, 2014, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma announced that Kris was cleared by doctors to return to full practice.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
|2007–08||Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins||AHL||10||1||6||7||4||—||—||—||—||—|
International Statistics[edit | edit source]
International Play[edit | edit source]
|Competitor for Canada|
|World Junior Championships|
|IIHF World U18 Championships|
|Silver||2005 Czech Republic|
Kris debuted internationally for Team Canada in his junior rookie season during the 2005 World U18 Championships in the Czech Republic. He scored 4 points in 6 games in a silver medal effort, losing to the United States in the final.
The next two years, Kris competed in the World Junior Championships, earning gold in 2006 and 2007 as part of a five-year Canadian championship run.
He won the first gold medal with Team Canada in Vancouver as the host country, then returned the next year in Sweden to score 6 points in 6 games as team captain.
Awards & Achievements[edit | edit source]
Major Junior Hockey Awards[edit | edit source]
- Named to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team in 2005.
- Named to the CHL All-Rookie Team in 2005.
- Named to the QMJHL First All-Star Team in 2006 and 2007.
- Awarded the Emile Bouchard Trophy (best defenceman) in 2007.
- Awarded the Kevin Lowe Trophy (best defensive defenceman) in 2007.
- Awarded the Paul Dumont Trophy (QMJHL best personality) in 2007
NHL Awards[edit | edit source]
- Played in the NHL YoungStars Game in 2008 and 2009.
- Won Pittsburgh Penguins Rookie of the Year award for 2007-08 season.
- Won the Stanley Cup in the 2008-2009 NHL season with the Pittsburgh Penguins
- Voted an All-Star for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game
- Voted an All-Star for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game
- Norris Trophy Finalist 2012-13
- 2013 NHL Second Team All-Star
International Awards[edit | edit source]
- Won the World Junior gold medal (Team Canada) in 2006 and 2007.
- Named to the World Junior All-Star Team in 2007.
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Kris has a full sister, a half sister and one half brother. On November 22, 2012, he and his girlfriend Catherine Laflamme welcomed a son named Alexander.
On May 29, 2008, Kris lost one of his closest friends Luc Bourdon (who was a defenceman for the Vancouver Canucks) in a motorcycle accident. At the time of Bourdon's death, he was playing in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings.
Kris and Bourdon had been teammates in junior with the Val-d'Or Foreurs and the Canadian junior team. He had been planning on buying a motorcycle, but he decided against it after the death of Bourdon.