The Los Angeles Kings have acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Brad Morrison. The deal, which was completed on Sunday, gives the Kings another experienced defensive piece while freeing up some necessary cap space for Chicago.
Maatta, 26, was acquired by the Blackhawks last summer via trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, He played 65 games for Chicago this season, recording 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) and averaging 18:25 of ice time per game. He was arguably the Blackhawks' best defenseman during their playoff run this season, scoring three goals and adding three assists while points while being a plus-7 in their nine postseason games.
Maatta has two years remaining on his current contract with a cap hit of $4.08 million. The Blackhawks will retain $750k of Maatta's hit in the deal.
"Olli is a well-rounded player who will fit well with our group of defensemen," said Kings Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake in a team release. "He is a young player that already has a lot of valuable NHL experience, including a pair of Stanley Cups, and we look forward to having him join our organization."
Maatta won those two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who drafted him with the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.
From Chicago's end, dealing Maatta gives them some breathing room financially, even with the retained money. The Blackhawks now have around $11 million in cap space as they look to give new contracts to Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome (both restricted free agents) and sign at least one goaltender. Their top two rostered goaltenders, Corey Crawford (unrestricted free agent) and Malcolm Subban (restricted free agent), are in need of new contracts this offseason.
Chicago remains tight against the cap and will have to get creative as they look to build out their roster. They still have plenty of holes, especially on the defensive end.
Morrison, 23, is a young center who had 19 points in 17 games for the Fort Wayne Komets in the ECHL last season.