The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Olli Maatta to a six-year contract extension, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The deal begins with the 2016-17 season and runs through the 2021-22 campaign, and has an average annual value of $4.083 million.
Maatta, 21, has six goals, 10 assists, 16 points and a plus-18 in 53 games. His plus-18 is third-highest among all NHL blueliners.
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Maatta has been paired with Kris Letang for a majority of the season on the Penguins’ top defensive pairing. Since the two were united on Nov. 13, Maatta’s steady presence has allowed Letang to post the third-highest point total among all NHL defensemen.
A native of Jyvaskyla, Finland, Maatta broke into the NHL as a 19 year old in 2013-14, tallying nine goals, 20 assists and 29 points with a plus-eight in 78 games. Those totals earned Maatta the club’s rookie of the year award, as his nine goals were the second-highest total of any Penguins’ rookie defenseman (Zarley Zalapski; 12; 1988-89) in club history.
In February of 2013, Maatta played a starring role for Finland at the 2014 Olympics, tying for second on his team with three goals in six games as the Finns emerged with a bronze medal.
Maatta’s second season in ’14-15 was limited to just 20 games due to a cancerous tumor that was surgically removed, and a shoulder injury. Before he was sidelined, Maatta was playing arguably the best hockey of any Penguins’ defenseman that year, tallying nine points (1G-8A) as Pittsburgh began the season as one of the league’s top teams.
The Penguins chose Maatta in the first round (22nd overall) of the talent-filled 2012 NHL Draft held at CONSOL Energy Center. Of the 30 players chosen in the first round, 28 have already played at least one NHL game, including 12 of the 13 defensemen picked, with two of those defenders the Penguins’ Maatta and Derrick Pouliot (8th overall).
Maatta was the 10th blueliner selected in 2012, and as of Feb. 26 he ranks fifth in games played (151) and fourth in points with 54 (16G-38A) among the defenders chosen that year.
During his lone playoff run with the Penguins in ’13-14, Maatta contributed four assists and was plus-2 in 13 contests.
As a junior player with the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, Maatta helped his squad capture back-to-back OHL titles in ’12-13 and ’11-12. He earned OHL All-Rookie honors in ’11-12 and was one of the Knights’ alternate captains his second year.