Defenseman Olli Maatta has signed a six-year, $24.4 million contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Maatta’s annual cap hit will be $4.08 million through the 2021-22 campaign. He was set to become a restricted free agent this summer.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are often criticized for the team’s lack of defense. Today’s move to lock up Maatta long-term was an extremely smart decision to address this very issue.
Maatta was the 22nd selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He broke into the NHL as a 19-year-old rookie defenseman, posting 29 points through 78 games in the 2013 campaign.
Maatta has experienced a lot in his short career. Maatta was limited to just 20 games last season due to a cancerous thyroid tumor and a shoulder injury. Before he was sidelined, Maatta was playing arguably the best hockey of any Penguins defenseman that year, tallying nine points (1G-8A) as Pittsburgh began the season as one of the league’s top teams.
Despite what he has already overcome, Maatta is still just 21 years old and has tremendous upside.
Fast-forward to today and you will find young Maatta playing top-pairing minutes with Kris Letang. These two have developed a real chemistry, which will be crucial to the Pens’ success moving forward. Maatta’s steady presence has allowed Letang to post the sixth-highest point total among all NHL defensemen with 45 points.
When you think about it, Olli Maatta has only just scratched the surface of his potential… the six-year contract extension has great value for both sides.
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