( Letang flirting with disaster, get it? ruff ruff ruff rfff)
There comes a point in time where an NHL players goes from " Wow, he is going to be really good," to, "Wow, that guy is really good."
Every player is different. With Sidney Crosby it was right away. He scored 100 points his first NHL season. MVP nods and nominations came flowing in after that.
Same with Evgeni Malkin. He won the Calder, an MVP, etc. Despite Malkin's recent struggles, his pedigree is established. He is a top ten NHL player on his worst day.
Now, on to Kris Letang. He is the definition of the "Wow, this guy is going to be really good," guy. He isn't the "Wow, this guy is at the top of his game," guy yet. And the question we have: when is that going to take place?
Hard truth: Not until the Penguin coaching staff, and Letang himself change some things.
And here is why...
Over the summer, the daily Letang convo was polarizing. There is no middle ground with him. He got a huge contract for two reasons.
A.) He wanted to be in Pittsburgh.
B.) He HAS the ability to pour in 60 plus points a season.
Where does he rank?
It is important to note that this method does not attempt to find players who were similar in style of play. Rather, it attempts to find players whose careers were similar in terms of quality and shape. By shape, I mean things like: How many years did he play? How good were his best years compared to his worst years? Did he have a few great years and then several mediocre years, or did he have many good-but-not-great years?
Boris Mironov and Rozsival. Our feeling toward Letang is starting to make sense. But that is just the last 7 years.
Some solid NHL citzens on there, but no real top level guys.
So let's get a little deeper and compare Letang with P.K. Subban using Dobber Hockey's tools:
It is a bit early to freak out about this, but this is going to be an ongoing comparison.
What about Duncan Keith and Letang?
Composure and Coaching
No one hates Kris Letang. And no one wants to be wrong more than we do. And this isn't about one game. Let's say Letang scored against the Flyers. All we'll see is:
" OMG I THOUGHT LETANG SUCKED/ DIE YOU ASSHOLES. I HOPE YOU DIE ''
This isn't about one game. This is about Letang putting together a string of games where he dominates, something that hasn't happened.