The Blackhawks added another defenseman to the mix on Saturday.
The Blackhawks sent Dominik Kahun to the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5th round pick in exchange for defenseman, Olli Maatta.
Let’s take a closer look the trade and see what the Blackhawks lost and gained in this surprising trade.
Olli Maatta is a promising 24-year-old defenseman, who has 2 Stanley Cups under his belt with the Penguins. Although last season was not his best outing offensively, Chicago will take his defensive ability to help bolster their unit.
Maatta is not the fastest skater on the ice, but he uses his body to get in front of shots in the defensive zone. Last season, he blocked 116 shots.
Maatta is only 24 and still has time to develop into a more dominant top 4 defenseman.
Want to see something interesting? Olli Maatta placed 20th among DEF in GAR last year. CHI may have found a competent defender for their top-four.https://t.co/pI8q5Knprg pic.twitter.com/UeX9gYC98Z
— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) June 16, 2019
The former 1st round draft pick does create a bit of a log jam of defenseman in the Blackhawks’ system.
Seabrook, Keith, Maatta, and Murphy are all signed for at least 3 more years. With prospects like Boqvist, Beaudin, and Jokiharju all eyeing a jump to the NHL in the next few seasons, the Hawks will eventually need to send some defensemen packing.
Maatta has 3 years remaining on his 6-year, $24.5 mil ($4.083 mil AAV) contract, via CapFriendly. He instantly becomes the 3rd highest paid defenseman on the team, behind Keith and Seabrook, going into next season. Maatta will get a chance to prove his spot in the top 4 in October.
Dominik Kahun had a promising rookie season in Chicago last year. Playing in all 82 games, Kahun managed to put up a respectable 37 points in his rookie campaign.
Kahun was finding himself playing in a top 6 role throughout the season, and his excitement when scoring a goal was something fans loved to see.
The Blackhawks viewed Kahun to be expendable, believing they have scoring depth throughout their lineup. With players like Strome and DeBrincat nearing the end of their contracts, money was not going to be around to sign Kahun at the end of his contract.
The other piece playing in the trade was the Blackhawks’ fifth round pick in the 2019 NHL draft. With that being shipped out, Chicago now has 6 picks at the draft. As long as the third overall pick is not moved, I am fine with Chicago trading draft picks.
After the Blackhawks traded Kahun for Maatta, my first thought was what does this mean for the draft? Does Chicago acquiring Maatta offer any insight to where Stan Bowman will lean when he drafts 3rd overall?
After seeing Chicago ship out a young forward, viewing him as expendable, to bring in a defenseman, I believe Chicago will draft a forward.
I think with the addition of Maatta, and the already crowded pipeline of defensive prospects within Chicago, the Blackhawks will pass on Bowen Byram and take Alex Turcotte in the 2019 NHL draft on Friday.
With the movement of Kahun from the team Chicago has a forward spot available, Turcotte could be that new piece on the team.
Whether or not you agree with my pick on who Chicago will draft, we can all agree that the Blackhawks’ offseason moves are just beginning.
Trading Kahun for Maatta was a nice start to forming the ‘Hawks opening night roster in October, but it was only a start. More moves are likely on the way!