The draft, hands down, is the best time of the hockey season. Maybe I'm just saying that because the Wild haven't been seen post-season action since 2008, but that is besides the point.
The Wild hold seven picks this year, including the 7th overall pick. The last time that Wild had a pick this high was when the team selected Benoit Pouliot 4th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (the beginning of the Wild's awful draft record, as seen by our pal's inspiration for their blog's name...).
However, since GM Chuck Fletcher and Assistant GM Brett Flahr arrived, the team has started to see some promise. Some of these names include the Christ-like (or whoever you pray to) Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson, Charlie Coyle and the recently drafted Jonas Brodin.
So, on June 22nd-23rd, we will all sit down in front of the television/computer and watch the draft. But if you are wondering, "who's who", then you haven't been reading HW because thats my job.
So without further ado:
Introducing our 2012 NHL #15 Draft Prospect - Olli Maatta
Don't forget to check out the Hockey Wilderness 2012 Draft Page as well. Just click on the picture.
Defense / London Knights
Aug 22 1994
|2011/12 - London Knights (OHL)
|2011/12 - Playoffs
Accomplishments & Awards:
|2010/11||U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team|
|Jr. A SM-liiga Champion|
|2009/10||Jr. B 1 Divisioona Silver Medal|
Prospect Jersey (What Would They Look Like In a Wild Jersey?)
What's the Maatta? (Think I just threw up in my mouth typing that...)
Summarized Scouting Report
A steady, stay-at-home blueliner who usually makes the smart first pass ... plays a very simple, yet efficient game ... can have a positive impact in all three zones ... a very smooth skater ... a good skater who can launch himself up ice ... he’s got NHL size ... has great range ... ability to play physical when needed ... wins one-on-one battles along the boards ... he has an extremely strong shot ... makes smart first passes out of his zone ... capable of playing the point effectively on the powerplay ... he is extremely smart ... good decisions with and without the puck ... is extremely polished for a 17-year-old ... excellent defensive positioning ... has a nice active stick ... effective at angling opposition ... quite effective at keeping tight gaps in the defensive zone ... competes ... good leadership skills and character ...
Footwork and first few steps need some work ... acceleration and transitional footwork need to be addressed ... he doesn’t play with very much physicality ... he does not use his shot as often as he should ... his offensive upside is questionable right now
#3-4 Defensive defenseman
2012 Top Prospect: Olli Maatta (via MapleLeafFutures)
Where Does He Fit In The Wild?
He doesn't. A safe, defensive prospect? No thanks.
There is much to like in Olli Maatta, but I think I can safely say, I will disappointed if the Wild selected him on draft day.
Thats not to say he is a bad prospect, he isn't. He just isn't what the Wild need, which is offense from either the blueline or the forwards.
Maatta is a smart and solid skating defensive defenseman. He has tons of interesting physical traits and intangibles. He makes a good first pass, and has a strong shot from the point. In addition, his recent playoff run had him show off a bit off his offensive abilities. But at the NHL level, he isn't going to run a teams offense or their PP, but will shutdown opponents and stop goals. He may chip in a few points here and there.
He is a safe prospect as he is very smart and has a good NHL body already. He also has a wealth of playing experience as a key contributor to his team. But again, he just isn't what the Wild need right now.
Special thanks to HFBoards, Future Considerations, The Hockey Writers, TSN, OHLProspeccts and The Scouting Report