Kris Letang is one of the absolute best defensemen in the NHL. There are maybe only one or two defensemen in the league that can match his skating, he is a force offensively and he is a 25-minute per night player — being used in every situation — for the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.
When he is on the ice he is a total game-changer for the Pittsburgh Penguins and one of their most important cogs. When he was sidelined for the second half of last season and the entire postseason due to a back injury there was some very real and legitimate concern that it would negatively impact their chances of repeating. They ended up repeating anyway, but weren’t quite as dominant and played noticeably different than they did the year before with Letang in the lineup. His absence was still big.
The biggest drawback for him as a player is that he tends to miss a lot of games due to injury. Since the start of the 2011-12 season he has appeared in more than 51 games just two times in six seasons, and never played in more than 71 during that stretch.