This draft report is on London Knights Defenseman Olli Määttä. He was drafted by London Knights first overall in the 2011 CHL Import Draft, ahead of talented centre Mikhail Grigorenko. This came as a surprise to many but he has proven himself to be an effective and efficient defenseman for the London Knights helping them to become OHL Champions and play in the Memorial Cup Final.
Defense / London Knights - OHL
August 22 1994
Hometown: Jyvaskyla, Finland
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Final CSS North American Rank: 8th
Future Considerations: 27th
Hockey Prospect: No Rank
The Hockey Guys: 17th
Craig's List: 30th
What do they say about him?
‘Maatta is a cerebral defenseman whose strength lies in his ability to play a simple and effective game. He's got NHL size and is a very smooth skater and does a good job of making good decisions on the breakout and moving the puck with efficiency. He doesn't play with very much physicality but Maatta is extremely polished for a 17-year-old and does a good job positioning himself to make plays on the puck and utilizing his long reach to his advantage. His offensive upside is questionable right now but Maatta has shown that he is capable of playing the point effectively on the powerplay. Maatta doesn't project to be much of a game-breaker, but he looks like a solid mid-pairing defenseman who could have a long NHL career.'
‘Maatta possesses good size and excellent defensive instincts. He is adept at reading the play and has excellent positioning in the defensive zone. Maatta is not a big hitter, but he is very good at using his size to take opposing forwards out of the play and separate them from the puck. Maatta is a good shot blocker, and anticipates well to cut off passes. Maatta is a key penalty killer for the Knights.'
‘A defenceman with a good frame. Very good overall skills, though better defensively. A very patient player who positions himself well. Excellent hockey sense. Doesn't usually go for big hits, but likes to play the body enough to steal the puck.'
‘The smooth-skating Maatta can contribute in both zones thanks to a great hockey IQ, excellent defensive positioning and good first passes. Maatta played with much more confidence down the stretch as shown by his surprising offensive production in the playoffs. While most experts agree that Maatta is already very good in his own end because he's taking good decisions with and without the puck, the most underrated aspect of Maatta's play is his offensive skills. Boasting a very accurate shot, Maatta is learning to use his shot more efficiently, similar to Nicklas Lidstrom, hitting the net and creating rebounds for his team-mates, instead of trying to kill the goaltender a la P.K. Subban. His strong frame and ability to play physical when needed, help him win one-on-one battles along the boards.'
Olli Maatta will likely be an effective NHL defenseman. He may not be a number one defenseman but he will provide a solid shut down presence on a blue line. He appears to also have the NHL size and frame. There probably won't be any huge offensive production from him, instead he would be a defenseman who you would be able to rely upon to be back to help the goaltender when he needed help. As can be seen from the above rankings the opinions on where he will be picked vary though most scouts see him being drafted within the first round.
However he has proved to be very effective offensively in the London Knights rise to the OHL Finals. I'm not sure if this is a new development to become a more offensively minded defenseman or just a blip due to playoff pressure. If he continues scoring at this pace however Olli Maatta would have added a very useful skill alongside his excellent defensive play.
I personally don't think we need another top shut down defenseman. Olli Maatta, before his post season surge, I would consider a shut down defenseman who could provide some points but not a tonne. If this turns out to be a blip the Stars system already has good shut down defensemen in Oleksiak and Nemeth. If on the other hand Olli Maatta's previously unknown high offensive talent is here to stay then he could fit in very well with the Dallas Stars.