Defenseman Olli Maatta has played in all 23 of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ games this season. This will consequently count as the first season of the 19-year-old rookie’s entry-level contract.
At this point it’s unlikely they’ll have him play for OHL London, but Team Finland? That might be another story.
They can loan Maatta to his national team for the sake of playing in the upcoming World Junior Championship.
The event goes from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, but he would need to start training for the event in mid-December. In other words, the Penguins would lose his services for several weeks, but it’s still something they’re considering, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Maatta is averaging just 15:31 minutes per contest and his role might be further diminished when Rob Scuderi (broken ankle) returns. Maatta can’t be sent to the AHL for more seasoning because London still owns his non-NHL rights. If they do return him to the OHL, the Penguins won’t be able to recall him until late May. This tournament would give the Maatta an opportunity to log more minutes without being away from Pittsburgh for too long.
It’s worth adding that if Maatta plays in fewer than 40 games this season, then it will take him a season longer before he’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.
Mike Babcock’s reign with the Detroit Red Wings ended in another first-round defeat, yet it may be lost in time just how close that series was.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the Red Wings to win Game 7 at home, but Ben Bishop deserves a ton of the credit. The Red Wings snagged the puck for much of the contest, just not enough to beat the big goalie.
While change is in the air in Detroit, the Bolts are largely the same squad that generated a nice showing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. We’ll get to see if the Red Wings gain a measure of revenge on NBCSN tonight, with home-ice advantage this time around.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”