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Report: Penguins might make rookie Maatta a healthy scratch

Dec 31, 2013, 12:31 PM EDT

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 26: Olli Maatta #3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on October 26, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Penguins 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Olli Maatta, the 19-year-old rookie defenseman of the Pittsburgh Penguins, might be spectator on Tuesday as a healthy scratch, while his team faces the New Jersey Devils.

That’s according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Tuesday morning. Maatta, the club’s first-round pick, 22nd overall, in 2012 has played well in his first season with the Penguins but has gone through a rough patch of late, going a combined minus-three in his last three games.

“All those things are considerations,” said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, according to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

“His play maybe hasn’t been as strong in the past couple (of games). When his play is good, he’s been worked with and coached and looked at video. That’s certainly going to happen during this stretch as well.”

The Penguins are running away with the Metropolitan Division, currently with a record of 29-11-1. Their 59 points is 14 ahead of the second-place Washington Capitals.

  1. hazlydose - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    The kids 19 years old and has been playing top pair minutes with all of the injuries. He’s struggled in the last few games, but that’s to be expected from a teenager. He has a bright future but deserves a few games off to get his game together.

  2. lowenni - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    He has had a few really rough couple games. But that happens with teenage rookies. It could help to let him sit and watch, or it could help to let him play through it, maybe play him a little bit less for a few games. Is there anyone else much better to replace him?

    • hockey412 - Dec 31, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      Yes, with Orpik and Scuderi back there are a number of options. Despres, Bortuzzo, Dumolin, any of them can replace him. Despres gets my vote.

      • hockey412 - Dec 31, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        Dumoulin, sorry

  3. joey4id - Dec 31, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I agree with my fellow commenters. He’s made a lot of mistakes in the past few games, and mostly because of fatigue. The type of mistakes he wasn’t making at the outset of the season. Players are usually very tired at this time of the year and use the holiday break to recharge their batteries for the second half, and it is much more difficult for a young kid.

  4. steelers88 - Dec 31, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    I think it was smart of the Penguins to give Matta a breather. The only concern I have is if his so tired now, he will probably be exhausted come playoff time. Hopefully the olympic break will do him some good.

    • zico25 - Dec 31, 2013 at 8:48 PM

      If Finland is smart they will ask him to play in the Olympics.

  5. csilojohnson - Dec 31, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Helps to have Despres playing so well. Maata could use a break.
    More options with Scuderi back. Even though hes started both games getting scored on. lol

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