Mark Letestu (born February 4, 1985) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player currently playing with the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL while under contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Letestu while with the Blue Jackets in 2012
February 4, 1985|
Elk Point, Alberta, Canada
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
|Weight||195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)|
|NHL team (P)|
Columbus Blue Jackets|
Cleveland Monsters (AHL)
Letestu played three seasons of junior hockey with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, before playing one season at Western Michigan of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. During the 2005–06 season with the Pontiacs, Letestu led the AJHL in scoring with 105 points (50 goals, 55 assist) in 58 games and was named the league's most valuable player. While at Western Michigan during the 2006–07 season, Letestu was sixth in goals, fourteenth in points, and first in the NCAA with five short handed goals.
After playing at Western Michigan, Letestu was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 22, 2007. He appeared in three regular and two post-season games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, when he joined the team at the end of the 2006–07 season. In 2007–08 he appeared in 52 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and six games with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL. He then spent the entire 2008–09 season in the AHL. The Penguins re-signed Letestu to a two-year contract in March 2009.
On November 14, 2009, Letestu made his NHL debut with the Penguins against the Boston Bruins. He made another appearance with the Penguins before being returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Letestu was called up again on December 5 and played that night against the Chicago Blackhawks. He played 13 minutes, 52 seconds, and won a faceoff against John Madden that set up a tying goal by Jordan Staal with 31 seconds remaining.
On February 1, 2010, Letestu scored his first NHL goal against Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, 47 seconds into the first period. The goal was assisted by Tyler Kennedy and Kris Letang. Letestu was one of seven Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players recalled by Pittsburgh after the AHL Penguins were eliminated in the first round of the 2010 Calder Cup playoffs. He appeared in his first NHL playoff game in the Penguins second round series against the Montreal Canadiens on May 4, when he replaced the injured Staal as the third-line center between Kennedy and Matt Cooke. In Game 5 on May 8, Letestu recorded his first NHL playoff point with an assist on a second period goal by Sergei Gonchar.
Letestu began the 2010–11 season with the Penguins after delivering a very strong training camp and preseason. He finished preseason play with a goal and five assists in five games. "I worked hard this summer...the praise is nice but it's only as good as your last game. I just need to keep playing the way I have been and hopefully force somebody to keep me here," said Letestu after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks at the new Consol Energy Center. He began the 2010–11 NHL regular season equally as strong, scoring game-winning goals in two of his first three games, being named one of the Stars of the Game against Montreal and the New Jersey Devils. Letestu was then named No. 1 star against the Ottawa Senators on October 18, 2010 after scoring a power-play goal and assisting on Evgeni Malkin's goal by winning a faceoff in the Ottawa zone. The performance gave him seven points in his first seven games. "He has really made an impact for us," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.
However, Letestu's production dipped into November, as he went 22 consecutive games without scoring a goal. On December 8, 2010, Letestu finally broke the scoring drought with the first multi-goal game of his NHL career, scoring twice against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Letestu signed a two-year contract extension with the Penguins on January 18, 2011 worth an average annual value of $625,000 for the term of the deal. At the time, he was 10th among all NHL rookies in scoring (19 points) and had scored three game-winning goals.
Columbus Blue JacketsEdit
On November 8, 2011, Letestu was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a fourth-round pick. Letestu finished the season with 25 points in 62 games split between both clubs. During the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, Letestu was an assistant captain for the Blue Jackets.
After three and half seasons with the Blue Jackets, Letestu left the club as a free agent and on July 1, 2015, and signed a three-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers. During the 2016-17 season, Letestu scored a career-high 16 goals to go along with a career-high 35 points.
Return to ColumbusEdit
On February 25, 2018, Letestu was traded by the Oilers to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Pontus Aberg. Later that day, Letestu was flipped back to the Blue Jackets in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round pick. Letestu and the Blue Jackets reached the 2018 playoffs, but were ousted in the first round by the Washington Capitals. Letestu went scoreless in six games.
On September 27, Letestu returned to the Blue Jackets, signing a one-year, two-way contract. He was immediately placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment to the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters.
|2011–12||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||51||11||13||24||6||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||46||13||14||27||10||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013–14||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||82||12||22||34||20||6||1||1||2||0|
|2014–15||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||54||7||6||13||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2017–18||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||20||1||3||4||0||6||0||0||0||0|
|2018–19||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||2||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honoursEdit
- Wescott, Chris (October 25, 2015). "IN DEPTH: Homecoming". Edmonton Oilers. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
- "Pittsburgh Penguins Re-Sign Forward Mark Letestu". Pittsburgh Penguins. March 27, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
- Molinari, Dave (December 7, 2009). "Penguins' Letestu does good job filling in for Crosby". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
- "Sabres at Penguins – Boxscore". February 1, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
- "Penguins Recall Seven Players". Pittsburgh Penguins. April 28, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- Molinari, Dave (May 6, 2010). "Penguins' Letestu fills role as fill-in". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- "Box Score - Canadiens at Penguins". National Hockey League. May 8, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
- "Notebook: Letestu Makes His Case". penguins.com. September 28, 2010.
- "Sidney Crosby, Pens' three-goal first ruin Sergei Gonchar's return". ESPN. October 18, 2010.
- "Penguins on second-longest winning streak in franchise history". ESPN. December 8, 2010.
- "Penguins Sign Center Mark Letestu to Two-Year Contract Extension". Pittsburgh Penguins. January 18, 2011.
- "Blue Jackets acquire Mark Letestu". Columbus Blue Jackets. November 8, 2011. Archived from the original on November 14, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "Oilers sign defenseman Sekera and forward Letestu". Edmonton Journal. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
- Wescott, Chris (February 25, 2018). "BLOG: Oilers acquire Aberg for Letestu". NHL.com. Edmonton Oilers. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
- "Letestu traded to Blue Jackets after being sent to Predators from Oilers". NHL.com. February 25, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
- Merz, Craig. "Capitals advance with Game 6 win against Blue Jackets". NHL.com. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "Panthers announce Professional Tryout for Mark Letestu". Florida Panthers. August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
- "Florida Panthers Reduce Training Camp Roster to 32 Players". Florida Panthers. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- "Columbus Blue Jackets sign Mark Letestu to one-year, two-way deal". Columbus Blue Jackets. Retrieved September 27, 2018.