The Los Angeles Kings have acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Brad Morrison.
A former first round pick, Maatta\’s career has taken a dip, and a lot of it is thanks to injuries. Maatta has played in 82 games just once (2017-18), and the only other season that he appeared in at least 70 games was his rookie year of 2013-14. A two-time Stanley Cup champion, Maatta was in danger of being bought out by the Blackhawks because of his $4.083 million cap hit, and the Blackhawks facing a goaltending issue, plus Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome\’s expiring contract with little cap space. Chicago does retain about $750k from Maatta\’s contract, but having a cap hit of $750k is better than a $4.083 million hit. Maatta is still a quality player, but when you are desperate, a team can take advantage of you. That is what the Kings are doing. They have a weak defense, especially on the left side after trading away Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez in recent seasons. Getting Maatta, who has a manageable $3.33 million cap hit (after the Blackhawks retained salary) for two more seasons is worth it. In return, they give up Morrison, an ECHL player who was a 4th rounder in 2015 by the Rangers, but didn\’t sign. It would be a surprise if he makes the NHL. Maatta\’s stock also increased after a strong playoff run, scoring three goals with three assists in nine games, with only one less goal than his regular season total.
Maatta, 26, scored four goals with 13 assists for 17 points in 65 games for the Blackhawks in 2019-20. In his NHL career for Chicago and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Maatta has 29 goals with 95 assists for 124 points in 427 games.
Morrison, 23, scored six goals with 13 assists for 19 points in 17 games for the ECHL\’s Fort Wayne Komets this past season. In 2018-19 for the AHL\’s Ontario Reign, Morrison had 10 goals with 10 assists for 20 points in 50 games.