The Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday announced defenseman Olli Maatta will remaining with the team past the nine-game cutoff to send the player back to junior hockey without using a year of the pLayer's entry-level contract.
Maatta, 19, has a goal and two assists in nine games while averaging 15:03 of ice time per game.
"Based on his play, we believe this is the best decision for Olli and the Penguins," Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero said.
Taken by the Penguins with the 22nd pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, Pittsburgh had to decide prior to Maatta playing his 10th game -- which will be Friday against the New York Islanders -- whether to keep him in the NHL or return him to his junior team, the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League and delay by one season the start of his three-year, entry-level contract. Due to his age and the fact that he was drafted from a Canadian Hockey League team, Maatta is ineligible to play in the American Hockey League.
Maatta still can be returned to London after he plays his 10th game, but the Penguins would not be able to recall him and it still would count as one season off his contract.