Yesterday, the Los Angeles Kings acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Chicago Blackhawks, in exchange for prospect Brad Morrison. As discussed yesterday, Maatta was a potential buyout candidate, while Morrison was most likely sent the other way in order to save the Kings from using up an extra contract slot.
To start, I really like this deal for the Kings. Maatta is still only 26 years old and is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion. He was on pace for 21 points per 82 games this season and we can likely count on him for similar production going forward. Plus, getting him for two years at just a $3.33 million AAV for two years is a win and it’s also a cheap enough addition that the Kings still have plenty of cap space to work with this offseason.
Obviously, Maatta isn’t the perfect player, as shown by the Blackhawks looking to dump his salary. However, he’s consistently able to play between 18 and 19 minutes per night and will most likely be paired with Drew Doughty. Over the last two seasons, he’s been used in a very defensive role, getting a low percentage of offensive zone starts and also averaging nearly two minutes per game on the penalty kill.
I’d say the addition of Maatta means that Ben Hutton is now unlikely to be brought back, which is a bit disappointing. However, the Kings are getting a relatively young defenseman, simply for taking on his contract (with retained salary as well). If he’s able to bounce back in Los Angeles, this could go down as a very good move for the Kings.
Yesterday, I asked readers in a poll whether they liked the trade for Maatta, to which 81 per cent of readers said they did. I have to agree on this one, considering the Kings are getting a potential top-four defenseman for nothing. Maatta will get a great opportunity with the Kings and even if things don’t work out great, the team still has enough cap space remaining that this is essentially a no-risk move.
*UPDATE: The Los Angeles Kings have also announced that they've re-signed prospects Matt Luff and Michael Eyssimont each to a one-year deal worth $700,000.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Do you think the Kings will make any other notable moves over the next week?