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Pens ’12 first-rounder Maatta joins AHL affiliate

May 28, 2013, 2:54 PM EST

OlliMaatta

After a standout season with OHL London, Pittsburgh prospect Olli Maatta is beginning his professional career.

Maatta, the Pens’ first-round (22nd overall) pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has signed on with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the Calder Cup playoffs.

Maatta, 18, just finished his OHL season by representing London at the 2013 Memorial Cup. He had a stellar season with the Knights, leading all defensemen with 38 points in 57 games.

He also represented Team Finland at the World Juniors, scoring three points in five games — marking the third time he’d played for Finland at the tournament.

Joining Maatta with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will be Scott Harrington, Pittsburgh’s second-round selection (54th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Harrington also spent this season playing for OHL London, and also manned the Knights’ blueline.

WBS is currently in the midst of the Eastern Conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, currently tied with Syracuse 1-1.

 

  1. hockeywithdrawal - May 28, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Both are a ways off from the NHL, but I’m interested to see how they do and if they get any time in this series.

    • bmscalise - May 28, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      Depends on what you consider “a ways.” I doubt they’ll see more than a cup of coffee in the NHL next year – but the following year, the Pens may take a chance on them if they perform. They’ll need the low cap hits if they are going to keep Tanger and Geno.

      I’m excited about both of these players but especially Harrington. From what I’ve seen, he’s smart and steady. I believe that he was named best defenseman for the World Juniors. I have visions of him with Tanger as a sort of Weber/Suter-type pairing.

      • jpelle82 - May 28, 2013 at 4:34 PM

        pouliot will be letang’s replacement, he will be a great puck moving defensemen in the nhl, reminds me of brian campbell. he had a better tournament than seth jones did for portland. letang will be a cap casualty at some point soon, no way they can sign him and malkin to the money they deserve, especially after the neal contract last year for 6 mill per year. you know malkin will want 9+ per year and letang shouldve gotten neal’s 5-6 mil per year. i just dont see him sticking around after next season, it will be just in time for these young guys to start filling in the gaps. niskanen probably gone with letang because he’s gonna want more than 3 mill per year and then same thing with paul martin, brooks orpik in 2 years – gone, will be too expensive. maatta, harrington, doumolin, pouliot, bortuzzo, despres – the future is bright.

      • hockeywithdrawal - May 28, 2013 at 8:57 PM

        I’d bet neither one will see the NHL next year, I doubt even the year after. I meant I wonder how much time they’ll get with WBS.

  2. ucaneverscorenoughgoals - May 28, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Jpelle,

    Reference: http://capgeek.com/penguins

    You’re thoughts regarding Letang aren’t accurate for the following reasons:

    1.) Letang and Malkin are signed through 13-14 so, their new contracts won’t kick in until 14-15 when the penguins only have 24 million tied up in salary.

    2.) Letang is a Norris trophy caliber d-man who can’t just be replaced. So, the penguins will pay him the 7 million he deserves. And that is NOT contigent on whether they sign Malkin because they intend to sign both and with 40+ million (becauase the cap will go up by 14-15) there is no reason why they can’t.

    3.) While Pouliot had a great regular season, playoffs, and memorial cup, he is at least 2 years away just like Matta and Harrington. He will probably end up being the other high end puck moving d-man almost like a mirror image of Letang only left handed.

    What I do agree with is that Niskanen may be moved because he will probably want 3 million. However, Martin is still a luxury rather than a long term building block like Letang so it’s much more prudent to move a guy like him this summer after he just turned in a great season while he still has 2 years left on his deal.

    Despres still has to show me he can be more consistent so that his defensive awareness is similar to his offensive ability. Bortuzzo could be moved as well unless he is willing to serve the role of 7th or 8th d-man because Doumolin has a higher ceiling.

    • 19to77 - May 28, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      Having an absurdly deep defensive pipeline gives a GM all sorts of options. Boston’s showing theirs off this postseason with all the rookie callups, and Pittsburgh is going to be able to cycle their older, more expensive guys out in the next couple of years in favour of their most promising prospects. A lot of GMs could learn from Chiarelli and Shero. Wise drafters, those two.

    • jpelle82 - May 28, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      we shall see, trust me i want him to stay i just dont see it happening. dont forget dupuis, kunitz, cooke, adams, kennedy all are coming due either end of this season or next as well and there really arent too many guys in the system that can step in those roles right now. you can bet they all want 1-2 million each and kunitz/dupuis will need more than that. there’s gotta be a reason the pens stack up the d prospects…they can pay their high $ forwards and make moves at the deadline for rentals because they cycle defensemen out…either by trade or free agency when they get too expensive or were only there as rentals in the first place. leopold, goligoski, scuderi, gill, whitney…not saying they will dump letang by any means but i dont think he will be taking any pay cuts like a dupuis or kunitz might to stick around either. i wouldnt be surprised if letang isnt trade fodder next year at the deadline depending on the pens situation though. there’s too many role players that need signed to splurge on letang – especially when they spent high draft picks to replace him and you already have guys like crosby, malkin, neal, fleury accounting for 1/3 of the payroll. the only reason the pens have what they have now is because of the pro-rated cap window…its dropping next year to 60 million instead of 70 and crosby, neal, malkin, fleury account for almost half of the 60 mill by themselves.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - May 28, 2013 at 7:59 PM

        I would be suprised byond belief if Letang is trade fodder. We aren’t splurging on Letang because he isn’t a luxury. He is unique d-man who can not only move the puck up to the forwards, but start the offensive rush, run a power play and shut down opponents top scorers. He is a foundational part of the puzzle and Shero knows that.

        Let’s go through the players you named though to seperate the important guys from the unimportant.

        Kunitz – great player, he will be 35 in 14-15 when he is a UFA. Any more than 4.5 for two years is overpaying

        Dupuis – might be the best bargain in hockey. Will be a UFA this summeR. At age 34, any mroe than 3 million for three years is overpaying. He wants to stay here and has 4 kids. My sense is that the penguins sign him for 2 or 3 years at 3 million.

        Cooke – Great penalty killer and role player but at 35 his baggage and age has overwhelmed his worth. Jokinen’s presence makes him expendable

        Adams – Great penalty killer and roleplayer. He’ll be 36. If he wants more than 750 he is expendable as well.

        Kennedy – Great roleplayer and playoff contributer, but for the amount of speed he has, he underwhelms with his lack of production on the wing. He is a natural centerman. He should look for somwhere else to play that position because he won’t find it here.

        Eaton – Great locker room guy and sound defensive d-man. At 36 is it worth bringing him back so many young guys in the pipeline? We shall see

        Murray – I’d love for the pens to bring him back but he’s going to want 3 million…..That’s not happening

        Morrow – See Murray above

        Igina – If we are only devoting money to Dupuis and Adams next year there might be 4.5 under the budget for the next two years to give Jarome.

  3. theageofquarrel - May 28, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    MARIO RULES!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just letting everyone know that

  4. csilojohnson - May 28, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Sorry jpelle. Tanger is not going anywhere. I do believe Ron and Mario told Shero earlier this year to sign 71, and 58 no matter what.
    Either way its crazy to think they would even consider trading Tanger.
    One of the, if not THE most important player to the Pens.

  5. pizzano7416 - May 29, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Can’t let Letang go anywhere.. He’s 26 and top 3 defenseman in the NHL.. No way Mario and Shero let him walk

  6. jpelle82 - May 29, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    i hope you guys are right. just dont understand why they’ve drafted so many d-men so high when there are no forwards except bennett and jeffrey that are nhl ready

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - May 29, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      The answer to that question has a few parts.

      1.) The key to maximizing high end offensive talent….i.e…..Crosby and Malkin……is finding high end d-men who can start the breakout, read the ice from the back end, and jump into the rush. Despres Pouliott and Matta and to a lesser degree Doumolin all fit that mold.

      2.) The flip side of the previous point is that sound stay at home d-men are needed to Balance out the high end/offensive d-men. Orpick is an old 32, Eaton is 36, and Murray probably won’t be resigned. So guys like Ruopp, Harrington, and Samuelsson are being groomed to fill those spots.

      3.) Young d-men are assets as you partially acknowledged. Just like Whitney, Goligoski and Morrow, someone may get moved to add to the teams offensive depth.

      In reality, even if the pens had a stable of young offensive prospects they wouldn’t see the ice for at least another year if not two. Bennett being a perfect example of this considering he has had to fight for playing time.

      I’ll concede that centerman and wingers will become a bigger priority in 2 years but right now d-men are the biggest.

  7. jdlinder11 - May 29, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    I hope they dont get rid of martin, he has been their best defenseman this season IMO. I also think he runs a PP better than letang because he makes better decisions with the puck

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - May 29, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Martin has played incredible this season. But, part of the reason Martin has looked so good is that this season followed two seasons where he looked so incredibly bad. The likelihood of him putting together another season like this one is not very good. For a couple reasons:

      1.) It was a career year
      2.) His track record here suggests otherwise

      Now, he does do a great job of running the powerplay, maybe even better than Letang at this point. But 5 million is a lot of money to tie up in salary for a guy who is about to turn 33, never plays overly physical, and has had mor bad years here than good ones.

      Personally, I don’t think Martin is a well rounded enough d-man for the penguins continue paying him 5 million dollars, when Letang is the bigger priority.

  8. pizzano7416 - May 29, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Also it’s good to stock pile young D talent because they are great trade bait, With the way Shero likes to trade, he knows this. A top Dman was given up to get Iginla. Teams who trade at the deadline are always looking for top end D prospects.

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