Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was limited to 37 games last season because of a stroke, and knee and elbow injuries. But the 27-year-old has recovered and is eager to put it all behind him.
Defense - PIT
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 22
SOG: 108 | +/-: -8
"I think it's going to be a new start for me," Letang said Tuesday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I want to make sure nobody is going to doubt me, the job I'm going to be doing on the ice. I think basically I just want to prove myself to everyone that is part of the past and we're looking ahead."
Letang had 38 points in 35 games for the Penguins in the shortened 2012-13 regular season, 16 points in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and was named a Norris Trophy finalist. He had 11 goals and 11 assists last season for Pittsburgh, which enters 2014-15 under new coach Mike Johnston and without defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, who signed with the Washington Capitals in July.
"It went great," Letang said of an offseason meeting with Johnston. "We had dinner for maybe four or five hours. I don't remember. It was great. It was just talking hockey. He was getting to know me and what kind of person I am and what kind of role I want to be in the [dressing] room. It went really well.
"I'm not going to change the way I am or the way I play. I'm just going to do what I do best. I'm not going to try to replace [Orpik] with the hits that he can give. I'm just going to try to do my job and take a bigger role in the room."
The Penguins open the season Oct. 9 against the Anaheim Ducks at Consol Energy Center.