2. Olli Maatta
Coming off their thrilling qualifying round victory over an Edmonton Oilers team that was projected to go much further in the playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks will turn their attention to the financials.
The Hawks will have approximately $74M on the books entering the new league, leaving them with just over $7M available. While the to-do list is mostly limited to re-signing restricted free agents – including Dominik Kubalik – the Blackhawks will have to make a big decision on goalie Corey Crawford. The 35-year-old netminder stood on his head for the team’s only win against Las Vegas in the first round.
Is Collin Delia ready to take over goalie duties? The Blackhawks may have to part with a player or two on the roster, especially if they want to address other positions. Olli Maatta is a trade candidate with two years left on his deal at a $4.1M AAV.
The 26-year-old Penguins farmhand was a cap casualty after the 2018-2019 season and was traded to Chicago. This past season, Maatta scored four goals with 13 assists for 17 points while playing sound defense for the Hawks. He averaged 18:25 minutes of on-ice time and played a big role in the shot-blocking (110) and hit department (117).
The Kings could use another physical defenseman to join Drew Doughty and Kurtis MacDermid in that category. And obviously, he can contribute offensively. He features a big-time snipe from the blue line.