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Report: Canadiens Interested in Olli Maatta

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Olli Maatta: Photo by Greg Thornberry. All Rights Reserved.

The Penguins had barely returned from their extended bye week plus All-Star Game layoff before Jim Rutherford struck.

Dealing from a position of strength, Rutherford sent defenseman Jamie Oleksiak to the Dallas Stars for the same fourth-round draft pick that they originally traded to Dallas to get the big d-man in 2017.

And the Penguins may not be done dealing defensemen.

According to French-Canadian journalists Dans Les Coulisses and Kevin Vallee, the Canadiens have inquired about Pens lefthanded defenseman Olli Maatta. The full, translated report claims the talks are fragile.

Fans and media in Montreal are treating the report well. The Canadiens have rotated left side defensemen on their top pairing. Currently, coach Claude Julien has settled on young Victor Mete, who is just 20-years-old and in his second NHL season.

The Penguins and Canadiens recently held the two Eastern Conference wild-card positions, but Montreal has passed Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Maatta has a lone goal and 11 assists in 47 games while averaging 19 minutes a night on the backend. However, the report also came before Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson may have been injured late in the Penguins loss to the New Jersey Devils, Monday night. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said an update on Johnson could be available later today after the Penguins’ noon practice.

While Penguins center Derick Brassard has garnered most of the trade speculation, Maatta’s name has popped up occasionally, including an early season report from Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

Maatta, 24, is in his sixth NHL season and the third year of a six-year contract with a $4.083 million average annual cap hit.

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