Pittsburgh Penguins Place Olli Maatta on Injured Reserve

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Olli Maatta
OTTAWA, ON - DECEMBER 08: Pittsburgh Penguins Defenceman Olli Maatta (3) tracks the play during first period National Hockey League action between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators on December 8, 2018, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Olli Maatta was placed on Injured Reserve by the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday afternoon. The move comes after the defenseman left Mondays game with an upper-body injury.

Olli Maatta Injured

Maatta suffered the injury during the first period of Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He collided awkwardly with Flyers forward Phil Varone while chasing a puck in the Penguins zone. Varone shoved Maatta, who ultimately fell to the ice. He came down hard on his left shoulder and was slow to get up.

Maatta exited the ice and immediately went down the tunnel. He did not return to the game. Due to his absence, the Penguins finished the contest with five defensemen. Veteran Kris Letang saw a significant amount of ice time, logging over 31 minutes in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 victory. The extra playing time allowed him to record his 109th goal. The game-winning goal a new record for goals by a defenseman with the club.

In 55 games this season, Maatta has tallied one goal and 12 assists for 13 points. He owns 25 goals and 81 assists for 106 points over his total 357 career games.

What this means for the Future

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed after the game that the defenseman suffered an upper-body injury. He will undergo further evaluation. He was officially moved to IR Tuesday and is considered out indefinitely.

Maatta’s injury leaves a critical void to fill. He typically logs around 18 minutes of ice time a night. Furthermore, he is part of the Penguins second powerplay unit. Defenseman Justin Schultz has been absent for over two months after suffering a gruesome leg injury resulting in a fracture that required surgical correction. Currently, he is on track to make his way back to the Penguins bench for his predicted February return.

If Schultz’s recovery stays on track, he would be a definite candidate to take Maattas place during his absence. Letang will continue to see more minutes with Maatta out as well.

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