NHL Draft Prospect Profile #16: Olli Maatta
Drafted 22nd Overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins
Our next prospect was the 1st overall pick in the 2011 CHL Import Draft. The London Knights used their pick to draft Finnish defenceman Olli Maatta (Määttä) and haven’t looked back. With the addition of Maatta, to existing players like Scott Harrington and Jarred Tinordi, the Knights assembled one of the best groups of defencemen in the OHL. The Knights are currently in the OHL’s Western Conference Final against the Kitchener Rangers, and are a threat to go all the way to the Memorial Cup. Maatta joins Teuvo Teravainen in leading this year’s group of Finnish born NHL prospects.
Born Aug 22 1994 — Jyvaskyla, Finland
Height 6.02 — Weight 198 — Shoots L
Maatta came to London with high expectations based on his high selection in the CHL import draft. He has lived up to the hype. Maatta has shown to be a solid minute eating defencemen for the 1st place Knights. Maatta is a versatile two way player, who has greatly contributed to the ongoing success in London with his ability to contribute in any situation.
Maatta possesses good size and excellent defensive instincts. He is adept at reading the play and has excellent positioning in the defensive zone. Maatta is not a big hitter, but he is very good at using his size to take opposing forwards out of the play and separate them from the puck. Maatta is a good shot blocker, and anticipates well to cut off passes. Maatta is a key penalty killer for the Knights. Along with Harrington and Tinordi, Maatta gives London a big 3 of shutdown defencemen and effective penalty killers.
Maatta is also capable of adding some offensive skill from the blue line. He is a decent puck mover who starts the rush with a hard and accurate first pass. He’s a decent PP point man who is poised with the puck and has a hard and accurate shot. We think he can be an effective 2nd unit PP player at the next level.
Maatta could use some work on his skating. We find that his stride is unconventional and that he lacks explosiveness. He can also sometimes be beaten to the outside by extremely quick forwards.
In addition to playing for London, Maatta also has a wealth of international experience appearing for Finland in both the IIHF World Junior Championships and at the Under-18 World Championships. Unfortunately an injury suffered in the first game of the 2012 World Juniors sidelined Maatta for the duration of the tournament.
We’d believe Maatta’s maximum potential to become a defender similar to what Roman Hamrlik has been in his post lockout career. An effective defensive player who can match up against offensive players, but who can also provide a little bit of offence and is able to log 20+ minutes per game in all situations.
… and thats the Last Word.