While the Los Angeles Kings didn’t make any significant moves in the offseason, they did trade for defenseman Olli Maatta.
He was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks, in a deal that allowed the Blackhawks to clear cap space. Given that the Kings had space remaining and were in need of a left-handed defenseman, the move made sense for both teams.
Maatta is 26 years old and had 17 points in 65 games with the Blackhawks this past season, a pace of 21 points per 82 games. He has two years remaining on his contract and due to Chicago retaining salary, his AAV will only be $3.33 million, as far as the Kings are concerned.
With the Kings, we can probably expect Maatta to take on a fairly large role. He not only played the third-toughest minutes of any defenseman on the Blackhawks last year (according to Hockey Abstract), he was also tied for the lowest offensive zone start percentage of any defenseman, at just 46 per cent (according to Hockey Reference). Despite that, Maatta’s corsi for percentage of 49 per cent was slightly higher than Chicago’s overall corsi for percentage of 48.6 per cent.
He averaged 18:25 per game this season, including 1:53 per game on the penalty kill. Over his last four seasons, between his time with both Chicago and Pittsburgh, he’s averaged between 18:00 to 18:45 per game in each season.
With the Kings, however, he could have a chance to earn more ice time, based on the lack of experience on the left side. With Ben Hutton unlikely to return, there’s a good chance we see Maatta with two very inexperienced defensemen on the left side, likely Mikey Anderson and either Tobias Bjornfot or Kale Clague. As a result, we’ll likely see Maatta paired with Drew Doughty and if he performs well, he could certainly take on a bigger role, in order to shelter the young defensemen.
While I would have been a fan of the Kings re-signing Ben Hutton, trading for Olli Maatta was a decision that makes sense as well and it'll be exciting to see how Maatta adjusts to his new team.
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Would you have rather the Kings have made the trade for Olli Maatta or re-signed Ben Hutton?