23-Year-Old Defenseman – Pittsburgh Penguins
Olli Maatta Contract Information:
Signed a six-year contract extension with an average annual value of $4.083 million in February of 2016.
Maatta recorded a power-play assist during Sunday's 4-1 loss to Detroit.
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Olli Maatta: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Maatta didn’t look like himself for part of 2015-16, even serving as a healthy scratch at one point. Still only 22 and already in his fourth NHL season, the defenseman notched only six goals and 19 points in 67 games while missing time to a concussion and an upper-body injury. Despite the disappointing results, it’s important to keep in mind that Maatta hasn’t come close to peaking. Good health has thus far eluded him since his rookie season, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a 40-point season out of the Finnish defender in the next couple years. Pittsburgh’s banking on improvement – the organization gave him a six-year contract extension worth nearly $25 million in February of 2016 – as he distances himself from two shoulder surgeries.
Last season started with a wealth of promise for Maatta, but things certainly didn't go according to plan. Offseason shoulder surgery led to him barely getting cleared in time to open the season. One month later, he hit injured reserve to have a cancerous tumor in his thyroid surgically removed; upon returning, Maatta got just 10 more games in before a second shoulder injury (with a case of the mumps to boot) ended his season early. The good news is that Maatta is still quite young -- this will be his age-21 season -- and thus there's room for optimism that his body will bounce back from these multitude of ailments. When healthy, he's proven himself to be one of the league's finest young two-way defensemen, with 38 points and a plus-9 rating in his first 98 NHL contests. There's plenty of upside from there, especially with Maatta projected to see top-pairing minutes with some power-play time this year.
At age 19, Maatta surprised observers with an excellent rookie season at both ends of the ice. Picked 22nd overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Finnish defenseman scored nine goals and 29 points in 78 games. He also helped fantasy owners with 112 blocks and even saw a little power-play time, netting three goals and three assists on the man-advantage. Maatta will serve as a top-four blueliner in 2014-15, though he might miss the first handful of games or so due to offseason shoulder surgery. He's thought to be more of a two-way player than an offensive defenseman, but his freshman campaign gave fantasy owners more than a little hope he can become a regular contributor in the scoring column.
Maatta, a first-round pick in 2012, has exceeded expectations at the OHL level. Known mostly as a defensive defenseman, Maatta has posted strong offensive numbers in his two seasons with the London Knights. He scored 32 points (5G, 27A) in 58 games in his first year and 38 points (8G, 30A) in 58 contests last season. Maatta has played well in the postseason and, despite some defensive areas that still need work, appears on the fast track to Pittsburgh. He doesn't have the offensive potential of fellow first-round pick, Derrick Pouliot, yet it wouldn't be surprising to see him become a better two-way player.
Pittsburgh selected Maatta with 22nd pick in the 2012 draft. He projects as a solid two-way defenseman without the upside of fellow first-round pick, Derrick Pouliot. Maatta has been slowed by concussions, but the Penguins are hopeful those issues are well behind him. The Finnish product posted five goals and 32 points in 58 games for London (OHL) but really picked up his play in the postseason. Maatta potted six goals and 17 assists in 19 games for the Knights. His offensive potential is not particularly high, but his ability to play both ends of the ice gives him a good chance of dressing in a Penguins sweater in the not-too-distant future.