Kris Letang (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
Months after suffering a concussion, Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Kris Letang is back training, “with intensity.” Letang was having a career year last season before he was sidelined, but he should be ready to go when the Penguins begin the 2015-16 campaign.Over the course of his career, Kris Letang has had more than his fair share of ailments. And, after a huge check from Shane Doan sidelined Letang with his third documented concussion in the past five seasons, it seemed as if it was going to take a long while for him to get back to full health. Thankfully, however, news came yesterday from TVA’s Renaud Lavoie that Letang isn’t just ready to begin training again, but that he can start doing so, “with intensity.” That’s good news for the Penguins and even better news for Letang. Late in 2013-14, Letang was sidelined following a stroke and the discovery of a heart ailment. He missed 26 games, but ended up getting into the lineup before the season was through and then appeared in each of the Penguins’ 13 playoff games. Letang scored twice and tallied six points and averaged more than 24 minutes per game. Entering 2014-15, the hope was Letang would remain healthy and be able to play the first full campaign of his career since the 2010-11 season. That season was the only of his career that he suited up for all 82 games, and the only season in which he played more than 75 games. Unfortunately, however, he was first sidelined this season with a groin injury in November that kept him out of the lineup for five games. Then came a head injury around the time of the all-star break, which kept him watching from the sidelines for one contest. Then, finally, the concussion on March 29 that knocked him out of the regular season and kept him out for each of Pittsburgh’s five post-season games. That said, Letang is set to return to the lineup for 2015-16 and, if he’s back in similar form, it could be a season to remember. In 2014-15, Letang posted the third-best points-per-game total of his career, .78, over the course of 69 outings. His 11 goals matched a career high set the year prior and his 54 points are the most he’s ever tallied in a season. On top of that, one year after missing so much time following his stroke, Letang came one second short of averaging 25:30 of ice time per game. Letang will enter the 2015-16 campaign in the second season of an eight-year, $58 million contract. If he’s playing as well as he can, Letang is worth every single cent of that deal.