Olli Maatta - NHL Draft Profile

2012 Draft Rankings | 20 Jun 2012

8. LD Olli Maatta - London (OHL)

DOB: Aug. 22/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 205lbs
TSR Midterm Rank: 13

Olli Maatta isn’t going to overwhelm you in any particular area of the game, but his style of play is testament to the definition of the word steady. Maatta, who won’t turn 18 until late August, enters the 2012 NHL Draft as one of the most experienced players in terms of his playing opportunities over the past couple of seasons.

The 6-foot-1, 205 pound defenseman is accurately described as being solid, albeit unspectacular. He has shown that you don’t have to be the most dynamic player, or the most physical, to be an effective defenseman. Maatta is a polished all-around defenseman who plays a very responsible and mistake free game. The 17-year-old is very smooth on the ice and does a good job moving the puck and avoiding turnovers. He understands the game well and does a great job of managing forecheckers and making the right the decision. Defensively, he’s not going to overwhelm anyone physically, but he does a good job of positioning himself and using his reach to neutralize top line players and be an effective defensive zone player.

While that skill-set might not scream Top 10 pick to you, Maatta’s offensive game has potential and he showed some of his capabilities during the 2nd half of the season. As he grew more comfortable with his North American surroundings, you could see Maatta’s confidence level begin to increase as the season wore on, so much so that he would go on to tally 23 points in only 19 playoff games with the London Knights. While his play in the Memorial Cup was indifferent, he certainly showed that he is capable of playing on the PP and being an effective contributor at the offensive end. It should also be noted that while he might not have the big booming shot, he has that innate ability of getting his shots through on net, which is ever so important in today’s game.

Maatta’s calm demeanour on the ice may cause him to be overlooked at times, but make no mistake, he’s there - and he’s on the ice a lot. There was an adjustment period for Maatta to earn the trust of the Hunters in London as he was an important piece of an uber talented blueline that also featured the likes of Jarred Tinordi and Scott Harrington, but when he did, there was no turning back. Maatta is rarely going to be the guy who will dish out a big hit, but his ability to control the play and engage forwards without chasing are commendable skills without doubt.

Already having experience with the Finnish national team at the U18 level, U20 level (twice), OHL, and the Memorial Cup, Maatta is certainly battle tested and has performed admirably against some of the top prospects in the world. He has a great attitude and is committed to improving his game off the ice as well as he is no stranger to the gym. Maatta will likely never be a bonafide star in the NHL, and there’s a chance he might not even be a top pairing guy, but an NHL team can take him comfortably knowing they should have a quality Top 4 defenseman for at least 10 years, and a player who is capable of developing into more.

Pros: Hockey Sense, Positioning, Anticipation

Cons: Offensive Upside, Physicality

Skillset Comparison: Teppo Numminen

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