Määttä with the Pittsburgh Penguins
August 22, 1994 |
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||206 lb (93 kg; 14 st 10 lb)|
|NHL team||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|NHL Draft||22nd overall, 2012
Olli Määttä (born August 22, 1994) is a Finnish ice hockey defenceman who is currently playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League. Määttä was the first overall selection in the 2011 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, and played for Team Finland at the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championships and the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. The Penguins selected him 22nd overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Known for his ability to block shots and his hockey IQ, Määttä was selected to be a member of Team Finland at the 2014 Winter Olympics as a 19-year-old.
Määttä began his junior career playing for his home-town team's under-16 program. As a 14-year-old, Määttä played 1 game for JYP U16 in the Jr. C SM-sarja classification. The next year (2009–10) Määttä posted 19 points in 7 games helping JYP U16 to a 4–2–2 record in the qualifiers, good enough for them to avoid relegation. Once the full season started, Määttä became an assistant captain and point-per-game player, finishing the season with 22 points in 21 games (including 9 goals) leaving him 3rd on his team in scoring and tops among defensemen. Määttä's play was strong enough for him to receive a 2-game call-up to JYP's under-18 team in the Jr. B division. As an additional reward for his skill, Määttä spent one game playing for JYP's under-20 team in their relegation round and helped save the team from dropping out of the Jr. A SM-Liiga. Amongst all the recognition, Määttä also found himself on Finland's national under-16 team, posting 13 points in 13 games.
The next season, as he turned 16 during the summer, Määttä was automatically promoted to the JYP U18 team, but was swiftly promoted after only one game to the under-20 team. While splitting his time between JYP U20 and the D Team in the Finland2 classification Määttä once again found time to participate on Finland's national teams, playing for both the under-18 and under-20 teams. At the under-18 games he led his team in defensive scoring with 4 points and helped Finland to a 5th-place finish (down from Finland's Bronze-medal performance in 2010). Määttä did not perform nearly as well at the 2011 World Junior Championships, going pointless in 6 games, but he became the youngest player ever to play for Finland's World Junior Team (since broken). At the end of the season Määttä returned to JYP U20 and lead the way as the team marched all the way and captured the league championship. En route to the title Määttä finished with 5 points in 12 games.
After all he had accomplished at the various levels of Finland's junior leagues, Määttä received two more honor as he was selected 85th overall by SKA St. Petersberg in the 2011 KHL Draft and a then first overall by the London Knights in the 2011 CHL Import Draft two months later. He accepted the invitation to play major junior hockey in Canada and started his OHL career the following autumn.
Määttä joined a London team primed to make a run for the J. Ross Robertson Cup. The Knights won their first five games by a combined score of 31–10 and didn't look back. London ended the regular season with the best record in the OHL (49–18–0–1) and the number 1 defense in their conference. Along the way to posting a +25 mark for the top team, Määttä paced the team in defensive scoring with 32 points in 58 games. Määttä was able to do this all while missing 6 games in the middle of the season to play for Finland at the 2012 World Junior Championships. Seeking to improve on Finland's 6th-place finish in 2011, Määttä was expected to be a key contributor for his team, but in the tournament opener he was concussed on a hit by Boone Jenner and missed the rest of the games. Finland was able to soldier on to a 4th-place finish without him, but Määttä got his chance to improve his draft stock when the OHL playoffs started. Määttä wasted no time and lead the Knights through the playoffs, being held without a point in only 5 of London's 19 games. As the Knights rolled through each series, losing only 3 games on their way to their first title since 2004–05, Määttä finished tied for the team lead in scoring with 23 points in 19 games (very rare for a defenseman).
In winning the J. Ross Robertson Cup, London received a berth into the 2012 Memorial Cup held in Shawinigan, Quebec. In the three round-robin games against Edmonton, Shawinigan and Saint John Määttä was held scoreless, but the Knights were able to win two of the game and receive a bye to the Championship game. London waited 5 days for their opponent to show up and when the other three teams finished the Knights found themselves pitted against Shawinigan, the only team to have beat them in the round-robin. The game evolved into a defensive struggle, and though Määttä was unable to register a point through 60 minutes, hardly anyone else was able to do so as regulation saw the two teams end with a 1–1 tie. It took an additional 17 minutes, 51 seconds to decide the game and it did so on the stick of a Cataractes. Anton Zlobin ended the game with his second goal of the night, capping off a very successful season for the London Knights and Olli Määttä with a disappointing end.
After the season ended scouts were so impressed with Määttä performance throughout the season that he finished as the #8 ranked North American skater. When draft day came around on June 22, 2012, Olli Määttä was taken by the host Pittsburgh Penguins with the 22nd selection in the first round. He attended the Pittsburgh's developmental camp in July, along with several other prospects (including London teammate Scott Harrington) and in mid-September signed an entry-level contract with the Penguins.
Määttä entered the 2012–13 season with very little left for him to accomplish. Aside from a Memorial Cup victory, his rookie year in the OHL had already produced enviable results. Though he started slow, with only 2 points in his first 4 games, Määttä's numbers began to pick up about a month into the season, as did the Knights' who didn't lose a single game between November 1 and January 1, going 24–0 during that time. They were able to continue their streak despite losing Määttä to the 2013 World Junior Championships. With a disappointing exit to make up for from the previous WJC, Määttä was expected to have a big tournament, but things went south for both him and the national team. Määttä was outperformed by two defensemen on his own team (Rasmus Ristolainen and Ville Pokka) while Finland finished 4th in its pool (behind a Switzerland team it had defeated during round-robin play) sending it to relegation. Finland easily won its two relegation matches to stay in the top tier, but a seventh-place finish in the ten-nation tournament was extremely disappointing.
Upon his return to London, Määttä seemed to have a bit of a hangover from the WJC as he registered only 2 assists in his next 9 games. He rediscovered his game in early February and carried it through the end of the year, pushing London to its second straight first-place finish (50–13–2–3) this time with the second-best offense in the league and the number three defense. Once again London rolled through its conference to the OHL title game, losing only two games in the process, but they faced stiffer competition for the J. Ross Robertson Cup from the Barrie Colts. While Määttä was able to register a point in all but one game, scoring was not London's problem as they couldn't stop the Colts from doing so. London quickly found themselves down 3 game to 1 but rallied to force a seventh game at home. Määttä lead a defensive effort that held Barrie to fewer than 4 goals for only the second time in the series as well as scoring the Knight's second goal and securing London's second league title in as many years with a 3–2 victory.
With London looking to redeem their loss in the Memorial Cup title game from the previous year, the Knights and Määttä started off strong, dropping the host Saskatoon 3–2 in the Cup opener. Though once again Määttä failed to record a point in any of the three round-robin games, it was his (and London's) defense that was the problem with their 2013 Memorial Cup. London lost the two remaining games by 3–6 and 2–9 scores against league champions Portland and Halifax respectively. Though Määttä was only on the ice for three even-strength goals against in the two games, he couldn't make up for the poor play from the rest of his team. Their 1–2 record sent them into the tie-breaker game with Saskatoon where London recovered their defensive game, routing the Blades 6–1. The next day they had to get past Portland in the semifinal and were once again sharp defensively, holding the WHL's top offense to only 2 goals in the game, but were only able to muster 1 goal themselves. For his part, Määttä was held scoreless as well as being on the ice for both of Portland's goals in the season-ending game.
Määttä's solid performance during training camp, buoyed by an injury to Kris Letang, earned him a spot on the Pittsburgh Penguins roster to start the 2013–14 season. He scored the first points of his NHL career on October 8, 2013, assisting on two goals by Jussi Jokinen in the Penguins 5–2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. On October 19, 2013, Määttä scored his first NHL goal for the Penguins against Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks. Through the Christmas holiday Määttä had appeared in every game the Penguins had played in and, through the first two months of the season, he was playing typical minutes for a 3rd-pair defencemen (usually <20 minutes a game). However, due to a rash of injuries suffered by other Penguins' blueliners (notably the broken legs by Rob Scuderi and Paul Martin), Määttä saw an uptake in his ice time, going from an average of just over 16 minutes in October and November to 21 and a half minutes a game through 4 weeks in December. This increased time wasn't wasted in the teenage defender as Määttä increased his point production from 5 points in 28 games in the first two months to 7 points in 12 games in December. As a member of the top defensive pair for Pittsburgh (with either Kris Letang or Matt Niskanen) Määttä has played a key role in allowing the Penguins to go 10–2 in the absence of much of their defensive corps, allowing more than 3 goals only once in that 12-game span.
Määttä played for the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In the 2011 tournament, he became the youngest ever Finnish player to participate in the under-20 World Championships. Aleksander Barkov Jr. later broke that record. In a game against Canada, Määttä got injured by Boone Jenner and suffered a concussion. Määttä also played in 2011 IIHF World U18 Championships, when he served as an assistant captain for Team Finland. He was selected by the coaches as one of Team Finland's top-3 players, alongside Joel Armia and Miikka Salomäki.
Määttä started playing hockey in 2000 after he complained to his parents that all of the other kids were allowed to play hockey. His favorite book is the English dictionary and his favorite food is mushroom soup.
|Competitor for Finland|
Regular season and playoffs
|2010–11||JYP U18||Jr. B SM-sarja Q||1||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||JYP U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||19||2||6||8||8||12||1||4||5||6|
- FoxNews.com: Top 2012 draft prospect Maata to sign with Knights
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- Olli Määttä's career statistics at EliteProspects.com
- Olli Määttä's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
|Pittsburgh Penguins first round draft pick