Saturday evening, the first Pittsburgh Penguins trade of the offseason was official. The Penguins dealt defenseman Olli Maatta to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a fifth-round pick and slick Czech born rookie winger Dominik Kahun. According to Capfriendly.com, the move will save the Penguins about $3.1 million pending Kahun’s ability to reach contract bonuses.
Maatta, 24, was the Penguins best defenseman in 2017-18 but was injured and stumbled this season. He often looked worn down and was not able to stay in the lineup beyond Game 1, Round One against the New York Islanders. Maatta has three seasons remaining at $4.083 million but was an expendable piece as he didn’t figure to fit into the top-six group and the Penguins have Juuso Riikola under contract as depth or potential member of the starting lineup.
This season, Maatta had 14 points (1g, 13a) in 60 games. He was a -2 in his only playoff game.
The Penguins used their first-round pick in 2012 to select Maatta 22nd overall. He quickly outshined fellow 2012 first-round pick Derrick Pouliot and stuck with the Penguins for seven seasons, including two Stanley Cup championships. Injuries and illness have plagued Maatta, who defeated cancer and two shoulder surgeries to continue his NHL career.
Penguins Trade Return:
According to trusted hockey colleagues in Chicago, Dominik Kahun is a “not going to blow anyone away but he is sneaky good.”
The 23-year-old left-handed shot can play all three forward positions. He played well on the top three Chicago lines and performed well with Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat and on the third line, too. Kahun was playing in the German league and had his breakout in the 2018 Olympics with Team Germany. Kahun had five points (2g, 3a) in the Olympics and made the jump directly to the NHL from the German league, which is not very common.
Kahun has one more season on his ELC and will be a restricted free agent next summer. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound winger had 37 points (13g, 24a) in 82 games for Chicago this season.
On the surface, he compares to current Penguins winger Dominik Simon. He must get stronger but is skilled and has good playmaking skills.
Editors Note: Kahun has contract bonuses which could increase his salary, but his 2018-19 cap hit was only $925,000 according to Capfriendly.com. The original version of the story was edited to include a firm figure of $3.1 million in savings, rather than a variable figure.