PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed Olli Maatta to a six-year contract extension.
Executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford made the announcement.
According to the Penguins, the deal begins with the 2016-17 season and runs through the 2021-22 campaign, and has an average annual value of $4.083 million.
In 53 games this season, the 21-year-old defenseman has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists). He has also been credited with helping Kris Letang post the third-highest point total among all NHL defensemen since Nov. 13.
Maatta on his contract extension: “It feels awesome. I’m really happy I signed a long deal and I’m happy to be part of this organization.”
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 26, 2016
Shortly after announcing the extension, Rutherford joined “The Cook and Poni Show” on 93-7 The Fan.
“It’s something we have worked on for a while,” Rutherford said. “As everybody knows, Olli is an important part to our defense. He is a young guy who had a tough year last year. He got through a couple of serious setbacks medically and has played really well for us this year.”
Last year’s medical setbacks have not hampered Maatta’s play this year and the Penguins felt it was important to lock him up for the future.
“He had a couple of issues last year,” Rutherford said. “We feel medically those things are behind him so we are very comfortable with it.”
The NHL Trade Deadline is coming up on Monday. Are the Penguins going to make a splash as they try and fight for a playoff spot down the stretch?
Rutherford likes what he sees with the young players on the team, but they are looking at possibly making a move.
“We feel we have a good group of forwards, but we will be looking at our defense especially with [Ben Lovejoy’s] injury. We will look to strengthen our depth,” Rutherford said. “I have no interest in trading young stars.”
Listen to the full interview here: