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2012 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Olli Maatta

by Greg Fernandez / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins and CONSOL Energy Center will be hosting the 2012 NHL Draft on June 22nd and 23rd. In the days leading up to the event, will be putting the spotlight on some of the best and brightest draft-eligible prospects.

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 202 pounds
Shoots: Left
Born: August 22, 1994
Born in: Jyväskylä, FIN
Played the 2011-12 season with: London Knights (Ontario Hockey League)

2010-11 JYP 2 FIN-2 23 1 5 6
2010-11 JYP JR. FIN-JR. 19 2 6 8
2011-12 LONDON OHL 58 5 27 32

NHL Central Scouting:
No. 8 among North American skaters
The Hockey News: No. 20
International Scouting Services: No. 12
McKeen’s Hockey: No. 13
Red Line Report: No. 13
TSN: No. 30

NHL Comparison: Ryan Suter
NHL Potential: “Projected as a steady, stay-at-home blueliner who usually makes the smart first pass. A solid third or fourth defenseman with leadership skills and smarts.” –Grant McCagg, TSN

Defenseman Olli Maatta burst onto the hockey scene at the 2011 World Junior Championships, becoming the youngest player ever selected to represent Team Finland at the age of 16. The following year, after completing a season playing for JYP Jyväskylä II in the SM-liiga II in Finland, Maatta became the No. 1 overall selection for the London Knights in the Canadian Hockey League import draft. Known more for his defensive presence than his offensive prowess, the Finnish import led all Ontario Hockey League rookie blueliners in scoring, posting 32 points (5G-27A) in 58 games. But the stay-at-home defenseman continued to show an offensive scoring touch for London, helping the Knights capture the OHL Championship, leading the team with 23 points (6G-17A) throughout the OHL playoffs.

“Coach Hunter wasted no time throwing (Maatta) over the boards on the penalty kill, as he was his most trusted defenseman. Maatta has exceptional range and is even more impressive in a reverse movement … Maatta made puck mistakes early in the season, but improved upon his puck skills in the second half of the year, as he was able to execute a strong first pass and routinely find his outlets.”
-McKeen’s Hockey

He represented Finland at the 2011 World Under-18 Championship, recording four points in six games. He was voted one of Finland's top three players at the tournament.

The Maatta family keeps in close contact despite being separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Olli Skypes with his family in Finland three times a week, and his mother regularly watches his OHL games via live Internet streams - “It’s late when she watches, around 2:00 a.m., so she’s tired.”

Maatta credits former teammates and fellow draft prospects Samu Markkula (No. 61 ranked European skater) and Topi Nattinen (No. 115-ranked European skater) as having a big influence on his career - “We talked about hockey all the time and had a competition about everything.”

Maatta started playing hockey in 2000 after he complained to his parents that all of the other kids were allowed to play hockey – “They didn’t have any other choice but to buy hockey equipment.”

NHL player:
Nicklas Lidstrom
Shootout move: Pavel Datsyuk’s
Goal celebration: “Teemu Selanne shooting his glove”
Video game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Movie: Shawshank Redemption
TV show: The Mentalist
Actor: Kiefer Sutherland
Book: English dictionary
Home-cooked meal: Mushroom soup
Activity away from the rink: Playing PS3

Information courtesy of

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