Kings acquire left-handed defenseman Olli Maatta from Blackhawks
Maatta, 26, had 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) last season and comes to the Kings with two years remaining on his contract. The Blackhawks will retain roughly $750,000 of Maatta’s $4.08-million annual salary.
“Olli is a well-rounded player who will fit well with our group of defensemen,” Kings vice president and general manager Rob Blake said in a statement. “He is a young player that already has a lot of valuable NHL experience, including a pair of Stanley Cups, and we look forward to having him join our organization.”
The Kings sent forward Brad Morrison, a 23-year-old prospect who spent last season in the ECHL, to Chicago in the move, which was partially enabled by the Kings’ more than $17 million in cap space.
In 2008, the Kings drafted Drew Doughty second overall and dramatically changed their fortunes. They’re hoping for a similar scenario on Tuesday.
While the team has strong options on the right side of its blue line in Drew Doughty, Matt Roy and Sean Walker, experienced left-handed defenseman had been short in supply, especially with Ben Hutton and Joakim Ryan set to become free agents.
Maatta fills that hole. A former first-round pick, the Finland native won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017 and had 107 points in 362 total games with the Penguins between 2013 and 2019. He has only had a negative plus/minus rating once in his career.
Maatta signed a six-year, $24.5-million extension with the Penguins in 2016 but was traded to Chicago last June.
He helped the rebuilding Blackhawks qualify for the expanded 24-team playoffs, where they defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the qualification round. He had six points and a team-best plus-seven rating in their nine playoff games.
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