All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Olli Maatta (D)
Height: 6’2 Weight: 202 Shoots: Left
Team: London Knights (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 8 among North American skaters
What kind of player is he?
As for as rankings go, only Ryan Murray, Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci ranked higher in terms of Norther American defensemen.
Maatta didn’t get the opportunity to play for Finland at the 2012 World Juniors (beyond the first game) thanks to a concussion. It’s a shame, too, as it would have been a helpful gauge for his potential, given he played on a stacked London Knights team this season that featured first-round picks Austin Watson (Nashville, 2010), Jarred Tinordi (Montreal, 2010) and Vladislav Namestnikov (Tampa Bay, 2011).
In a deep pool of defensemen — some great in both ends, other more explosive offensively — Maatta’s selling point is his steadiness defensively. That doesn’t mean that he won’t help out at all on offense, but according to many, defense is likely to be his calling card.
“Maatta is a smart and solid skating defensive defenseman. He has tons of interesting physical traits and intangibles. He makes a good first pass, and has a strong shot from the point. In addition, his recent playoff run had him show off a bit off his offensive abilities.
“But at the NHL level, he isn’t going to run a teams offense or their PP, but will shutdown opponents and stop goals. He may chip in a few points here and there.” — Hockey Wilderness
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