The Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Olli Maatta to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Brad Morrison.
It’s a move that clears some needed salary cap space for the Blackhawks, who aren’t receiving anything of significant value in Morrison. The deal allows the Blackhawks to avoid buying Maatta out of the remaining two seasons on his contract, which is scheduled to cost over $4 million against the salary cap annually.
However, Chicago will retain just over $750,000 to make the deal happen, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports.
Mostly a replacement-level defenseman, Maatta has failed to live up to the expectations of the six-year, $24.5 million deal he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins out of entry level in 2016. He’s now been traded twice, having failed to catch on with the Blackhawks after seeing his influence wane across six seasons with the Penguins.
Maatta will be the second-highest paid defender on the Kings roster behind Drew Doughty. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play out the string on his current contract in Los Angeles for a Kings team in the midst of a rebuild.
Maatta had four goals and 13 assists in 65 games last season, and the Blackhawks were outplayed on the basis of every important measure with the defenseman on the ice. He followed that up with an uncharacteristically productive postseason, scoring three goals and adding three assists in nine games.
Morrison was limited to 17 games last season in the ECHL with the Fort Wayne Comets.
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