Published on September 13th, 2012 | by James Conley0
Penguins Sign Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot to Entry-Level Contracts
Image tricia_hall @ flickr
Players and teams have been signing extensions left and right in anticipation of an NHL lockout that’s scheduled to take effect this Saturday at midnight. The Penguins have been expertly subdued in their signings this summer—that they signed about a dozen AHL talents early in free agency and only added Tanner Glass and Tomas Vokoun to the NHL roster is a pretty good indication of where they thought the summer would take us.
The team continued its pursuit of non-NHL assets Wednesday, signing 2012 first-round selections Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta to a pair of three-year, entry-level contracts.
Pouliot, the eighth-overall selection, was drafted by Pittsburgh using the pick Carolina traded away as part of the Jordan Staal deal. Maatta, selected 18th, was drafted using the Penguins’ first selection. Both young defensemen have now officially joined an impressive corps of blue-liners already in the Penguins’ system.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Pouliot had a breakout season with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2011-12, ranking second among team blueliners behind fellow Penguins prospect Joe Morrow with 59 points (11G-48A) in 72 regular-season games.
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Maatta spent his first season in North America during the 2011-12 campaign with London of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), helping the Knights win the OHL playoff championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup.
According to the site, the deals will become active once Pouliot and Maatta turn pro. Both players can expect to spend at least one more season with their respective junior squads, both for their development and because of the turmoil the NHL lockout is sure to cause in all levels of professional North American hockey.