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Olli Maatta gets the Erik Gudbranson treatment

The former Pens’ defensemen gets traded for basically nothing

NHL: NOV 09 Blackhawks at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With not to much going this weekend in the calm before the storm before the NHL draft tomorrow and Wednesday and then free agency opening up on Friday, one major transaction that stood out was former Penguins’ defenseman Olli Maatta getting traded yesterday to Los Angeles.

The Blackhawks also held onto $750k of retained salary for the next two seasons that remain on his contract, leaving the Kings to pick up Maatta for a $3.33 million hit.

Much like Chicago giving up on Trevor Daley in favor of Rob Scuderi (lulz), this one could come back to bite them in the minor way that defensive defensemen do. Maatta finished with six point in nine playoff games, and as all Pens’ fans know, he’s decent when pair with a strong partner and weak when left to be the strong link himself. Despite an uneven season in Chicago, Maatta still was able to suppress opportunities and goals against last year.

For Chicago, the motivation is simple. They dumped Maatta much like Pittsburgh dumped Erik Gudbranson on Anaheim, just to get out of his cap hit and open up space. The forward coming back is a non-factor.

This move clears up $3.3 million for the Blackhawks under the cap, which is clearly the most important factor in making this move. Maatta at $4 million wasn’t a proposition they felt they could handle, which is kind of curious they didn’t stay committed to him after trading a low-price forward for him just a year ago. Alas, when push came to shove, they opted to open up the cap space.

Chicago still have some moves to do, but will this money be attributed for a new contract to Corey Crawford? Or?.....Matt Murray? Stay tuned.