Saturday, June 15, 2019

NHL Trade review: Blackhawks acquire Maatta



             The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Dominik Kahun and a 5th round draft pick.

             Maatta is still fairly young, as he'll be 25 by the time 2019-20 starts. His cap hit of just over $4 million isn't ideal, especially after a down year that saw him as a healthy scratch for the last three games of the Penguins season, when they were swept in the first round. But because of that sweep, and the fact that Pittsburgh has been eliminated before the Conference Finals the past two years, has GM Jim Rutherford looking for changes. There had been trade rumors surrounding Maatta and his former teammate Phil Kessel since the conclusion of the season. Now, Maatta is sent out of town. In return, the Pens get a speedy, young forward who had a surprise rookie season. Sound familiar? That pretty much describes current Penguins Jake Guentzal and Dominik Simon, and former Penguins' forward Conor Sheary.

              Kahun, who'll soon be 24, scored 13 goals with 24 assists for 37 points in 82 games, his rookie year for the Blackhawks. The Czech Republic native has one more year left on the deal he signed as an undrafted free agent.
          
              Maatta brings youth to an aging Blackhawks' defense. Duncan Keith will be 36, and Brent Seabrook turned 34 two months ago. Erik Gustafsson had a breakout year, and Connor Murphy made decent strides. That would leave a spot open for one of Carl Dahlstrom, Slater Koekkoek and Gustav Forlsing (current RFA), or an incoming UFA. Former 1st rounders Adam Boqvist and Henri Jokiharju could also push for a roster spot.

              Maatta, who will be 25, scored one goal with 13 assists for 14 points in 60 games for the Penguins this year. In six years for the Penguins, the blueliner has scored 25 goals and 82 assists for 107 points in 362 games.

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