Mark Letestu
Mark Letestu
33-Year-Old CenterC
Columbus Blue Jackets
2018 Fantasy Outlook
The veteran returned to Columbus at the 2018 trade deadline after spending two-plus seasons in Edmonton, finishing up his campaign with nine goals and 23 points in 80 games. A surprisingly large share of Letestu's scoring came on the man advantage with the Oilers, as they were willing to overlook his offensive shortcomings in order to win as many faceoffs in the attacking zone as possible, but that role disappeared with the Blue Jackets and likely would with another organization as well. The 33-year-old was cut during training camp while on a PTO with the Panthers, but given his very specific skill set -- he won 53.3 percent of his faceoffs last season, and has a 52.1 percent success rate at the dot for his career -- he could return to the Blue Jackets on a two-way deal. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Blue Jackets in September of 2018.
Bound for AHL
CColumbus Blue Jackets  Minors
September 28, 2018
Letestu will head to AHL Cleveland having cleared waivers Friday, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports.
Letestu inked a one-year, two-way contract with the Blue Jackets three days after getting dropped from his professional tryout agreement with the Panthers. The 33-year-old has recorded 93 goals and 117 assists over 558 NHL contests. It will undoubtedly be strange for him to get bussed to the minor league, considering he hasn't played in the AHL since the 2009-10 campaign with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which is Pittsburgh's top affiliate.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Letestu's second go-round in Edmonton resulted in something of a career year, as he set new personal bests (albeit not by much) with 16 goals and 35 points in 2016-17. Where he really excelled, though, was the power play -- 11 of those 16 goals came with the man advantage, where he played a significant role despite seeing rather modest bottom-six minutes (14:14) overall. They were opportune goals, too, as six were game-winners. That said, at 32 years old, Letestu doesn't offer much upside beyond what we saw from him last year, especially with a fourth-line role on tap for 2017-18. He’s about the most productive fourth-liner you’ll see, for what that’s worth.
Letestu scored double-digit goals for the fifth time last season, but also ended up with a disastrous minus-21 rating for a sad Oilers squad. The 31-year-old is a safe bet to end up on the fourth line, as the Oilers sport three younger and more talented options down the middle in Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. While there has been talk of improvement for this coming campaign, it’s best not to believe it until you see it with Edmonton. That means Letestu’s downside is likely to outweigh his limited upside.
Letestu was a free-agent addition for Edmonton this offseason, after offering solid play for Columbus the previous few seasons. He's in line to pivot the fourth line with the Oilers, but doesn't figure to climb much higher than that with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Connor McDavid, Anton Lander, and Leon Draisaitl all offering more offensive upside from the center spot.
Letestu played in all 82 games last season and scored a career-high 34 points, thanks in large part to his skill in the faceoff circle getting him enough power play time to pick up 11 power play points. Those opportunities could dwindle as the young roster around him improves, but Letestu at the very least has found a home on the Blue Jackets' fourth line.
Useful jack-of-all-trades forward Letestu led the Blue Jackets in goals and was second in scoring last season with 13 tallies and 27 points in 46 games. The team continues to improve its depth though, and with youngsters Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner pushing for playing time up the middle, Letestu could see his shifts decline. Last year's pace was his ceiling, not the start of a new trend.
Letestu scored 11 goals and 24 points in 51 games with Columbus after coming over from the Penguins. He's miscast as a top-six forward, but the Blue Jackets' lack of depth up front will likely continue to get him chances on scoring lines for the time being. He struggled in a larger role with Pittsburgh at the beginning of last season after putting up 14 goals and 27 points in the 2010-11 season.
In 2010, Letestu provided an early-season spark for Pittsburgh and may have created unrealistic fantasy-world expectations in the process. The third- or fourth-line center scored seven points in his first seven games before settling in with 20 points (10, 10) in the next 57 contests. Letestu is neither a physical player (63 hits) nor an aggressive one (13 penalty minutes). Instead, he's a smart player whose value lies more within the framework of the Penguins than on fantasy teams.
Letestu's pedestrian numbers in the NHL last year -- one goal in 10 games -- don't do justice for the way he responded when called up. Letestu, who scored 23 goals and 55 points in 63 AHL contests, earned the trust of coach Dan Bylsma for his dirty work in the corners. He'll likely start the season with the Baby Pens, but he could very easily see 10 minutes or so on a third or fourth line for extended periods of time with Pittsburgh in 2010-11.
More Fantasy News
Signs one-year deal
CColumbus Blue Jackets  Minors
September 27, 2018
Letestu agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way contract with Columbus on Thursday.
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Released from tryout
CFree Agent
September 24, 2018
Letestu was cut by the Panthers on Monday.
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Gets tryout with Panthers
CFlorida Panthers  Minors
August 14, 2018
Letestu signed a professional tryout contract with the Panthers on Tuesday.
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Blanked in postseason
CColumbus Blue Jackets  Minors
April 25, 2018
Letestu failed to secure a point in the Blue Jackets' six-game series defeat to the Capitals.
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Tickles twine in Columbus reunion
CColumbus Blue Jackets  Minors
February 27, 2018
Letestu scored a goal in the first period of Monday's 5-1 win over the Capitals.
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