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Selanne holds Penguins rookie Maatta in high regard

Mar 8, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 04: Olli Maatta #3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates during warm ups prior to a game against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on March 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) Getty Images

Teemu Selanne has been in the NHL longer than Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta has been alive, but as the 43-year-old forward’s career nears its end, he can’t help but be impressed by how Maatta’s is beginning.

Selanne got to know Maatta during the 2014 Winter Olympics when the two played key roles in leading Finland to the bronze medal.

“Even at the Olympics, when he played best against best, he was so calm,” Selanne told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He didn’t look like he was a first-year player. It was fun to follow him.

“And also off the ice — how much work he does every day for preparation. It’s truly professional stuff.”

Selanne certainly isn’t the first person to see something special in Maatta. During the Olympics, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo said that he can’t see the ceiling for Maatta.

Even as a rookie, the Penguins are relying heavily on Maatta right now as they try to get by without blueliners Kris Letang and Paul Martin. The 19-year-old has logged at least 20 minutes in each of Pittsburgh’s last seven games.

  1. pitpenguinsrulez - Mar 8, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    The kid is a stud on the blue line. I’ve seen people compare him to Timonen & Lidstrom which are a fair comparisons. Maatta I believe is going to be better than Letang in my opinion.

    • desertfan - Mar 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      Key piece in the Nucks wish list for Kesler.

      • bmscalise - Mar 8, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        They can wish away. Pens will never part with Maatta – ever, for anyone, under any circumstances, because they aren’t idiots. (Hence, it was always Pouliot, not Maatta, that was mentioned in a Kesler trade. And Pittsburgh’s scouts begged Shero not to give up Pouliot either because of his potential, let alone Maatta.)

    • therooneyskilledwebster - Mar 8, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      I hope you mean Fred Lidstrom or Horatio Lidstrom.

      • pitpenguinsrulez - Mar 8, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Nick Lidstrom

      • therooneyskilledwebster - Mar 8, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        May want to keep that one to yourself. Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Mar 8, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      Stud is the appropriate word. So mature for his age and knows how to play with and without the puck in all 3 zones. Kudos to the PIT scouting dept.

  2. penguins87and71 - Mar 8, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Matta is really special. The scary thing is his only 19 years old! That’s pretty scary for the rest of the NHL.

  3. rushledger - Mar 8, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    If Derrick Puliout ends up being near where Maatta is when he debuts out blue line is gonna only get better.

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 8, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Why did the Flyers pass on this guy!? I couldn’t believe it when I saw him still on the board and then of course we go with a Canadian center. Eventhough Laughton is looking like somewhat of a steal himself, doesn’t change the fact that the future of the Pens blueline looks pretty amazing… Maatta, Pouliot, Despres, Dumoulin, Harrington, etc. That’s a ton of talent to go with Letang, Crosby, Malkin, and Neal.

    • vm113 - Mar 8, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Thats why i can’t believe they gave Letang the deal they did.

  5. jpen66 - Mar 8, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Maatta is only going to get better and the sky looks to be the limit for him. He is mature and poised way beyond his age. The future is looking extremely bright on the Pens blue line. Hope Martin and especially Letang will be back for the playoffs. Glad Shero didn’t trade Pouliot .Go Pens.

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