It was announced Wednesday by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero that the Pittsburgh Penguins signed their 2012 first round picks, defensemen Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta, to three-year entry-level contracts.
Pouliot, 18, is known for being part of the big draft-night trade that sent Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes. 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.
Maatta, 18, was drafted by the Penguins with the No. 22-overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft held at CONSOL Energy Center and could quite possibly have been the steal of the draft.
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.
Maatta earned a berth on the OHL First-Team All-Rookie squad after tallying 32 points (5G-27A) and a plus-25 rating in 58 regular-season games. Maatta led all Knights’ blueliners in goals, assists and points.
Shero knows that the Penguins defense was awful towards the end of the season last year and especially in the playoffs. With these signings he is making sure that defense will not be a problem in the future.