Shero firing not plausible

PITTSBURGH – Wait a minute … Ray Shero got fired because he traded Mark Letestu?

In the fallout from Friday’s bizarre announcement that Shero was gone from the Pittsburgh Penguins but Dan Bylsma was staying (for the moment), Penguins owner Ron Burkle apparently expressed regret that Shero traded Letestu to Columbus for a fourth-round draft pick in 2011.

Letestu is a serviceable, honest hockey player best suited for duty on a third or fourth line. When he was with the Penguins, he couldn’t always fill that role because of the team’s talent level. He was a tweener, a guy who always needed to keep a suitcase packed, along with an updated list of rental properties in Wilkes Barre.

He found a home with Columbus, where the top two centers aren’t named Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He would have fit on this year’s Penguins, too, because too many of the last six forwards were players who didn’t belong in the NHL.

But the trade was made in 2011. If it was a bad deal – and it wasn’t at the time – does it offset in any way the positively lopsided deals that brought Marian Hossa, Pascal Dupuis, Bill Guerin, Chris Kunitz and James Neal to Pittsburgh?

If you want to complain about poor drafting, that’s valid. Blast Shero for the imbalance of this year’s team’s forward depth chart. Make the case that too many no-trade clauses are a handicap in a salary cap system. Rail against the loyalty to Bylsma that resulted in last year’s contract extension.

But the Letestu trade isn’t even worthy of a mention in the context of his time as Penguins’ GM.