View Full Version : Why the Penguins Need to Keep Olli Maatta in Pittsburgh

10-14-2013, 10:43 AM
October 21. If it weren’t for Olli Maatta’s exemplary play during his brief taste of NHL action, that date would likely epitomize nothing more than an early season showdown between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Colorado Avalanche. But thanks to the solid performances Maatta continues to produce, the tilt actually represents a bit more in Western Pennsylvania.

After that Monday night contest, the Pens will have to ship Olli back to his junior squad, the London Knights, if the big club doesn’t want this season to count towards their star prospect’s entry-level contract. Despite his strong play, that demotion may very well be beyond Maatta’s control and, consequently, something that becomes a reality. After all, it’s great the kid has gotten a taste of NHL action but it’s not like Coach Dan Bylsma has shown a propensity for leaning on youngsters when he has an option. So, once Kris Letang returns from a lower body injury, will Bylsma really still use Maatta? More importantly, given the depth of the Penguins’ blue line, is there even room for him when the current roster finds itself at full strength?

To put it bluntly, Maatta has dazzled during his limited time with the Penguins. After an understandably shaky start to his first NHL contest, Olli seems to be growing stronger and more comfortable with each game: “The signals right now are that he can play at this level. At this point, it’s easy to make the statement that he belongs…He was real solid in his first game. Very good in his second game, and even better in his last game. You could say he’s headed in the right direction.” – Pens’ Assistant Coach, Todd Reirden

At only 19 years of age, Maatta has exceeded expectations with his solid play in the defensive zone and keen sense for the game. What’s more, his calm demeanor and skating ability actually have some comparing him to Sergei Gonchar. As a result, many are suggesting that the Pens’ only logical action would be to keep Olli for the long haul.

See more at: http://thehockeywriters.com/penguins-need-keep-olli-maatta-pittsburgh/#sthash.L5EebYDU.dpuf