: Prospect Info:
Olli Maatta | Defenseman | London (OHL) | 1st round, 22nd overall
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12-22-2012, 02:18 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Originally Posted by
That's my feeling as well; although I should state that while I have seen a lot of Despres and Maatta, I have only seen a little of Dumoulin -- so I am basing my opinion on the latter mostly by intuition, his accomplishments, and his reputation, etc.
While I am an absolute die-hard Penguins fan, and a glass half-full guy in general, I know and take pride in the fact that I have always evaluate their prospects with a very high degree of unbiased realism.
While I have very high hopes for a lot of the Pens D prospects, I have some reservations about many of them, and Despres is probaby at the top of my list. And it's not because I don't think he'll be an NHLer, because he clearly will be. But at this point (and at no other previously) have I viewed him to be a legit top-2 Dman, and I hope I am wrong. I have not seen many WBS games this year, but I am disappointed (though not entirely surprised) to her Simon has not fared very well.
The truth is, there is a chance he may not be anything more than an inconsistent bottom pairing guy, at least for the first few years of his career. He is the kind of guy who could break out in his late 20's, which is very common for Dmen historically. However, by then, he may have been outplayed by some of our youngers who are better and/or more consistent at a younger age.
If pushed now to state where he ends up, I would say this: I think he could have an "Orpik" type of impact, in the sense that he is more offensive (whereas Brooks is more physical), but that they are not legit top-pairing shutdown guys, but rather players that could complement a true #1 (ie. Letang, Gonchar). Now of course, he could end up being better than that, or even not as good, but that's my best guess if asked right now, and I also think he would benefit from at least a full 2 years (if not 3) in WBS, if he doesn't get traded.
On the other hand, while none of our D-prospects are an "absolute sure-thing" (besides Harrington, who is as sure a thing as they come), I just feel that Maatta and Dumoulin have higher potential overall and can fill a similar role (big bodied, two-way Dmen). Pouliot and Morrow have unique skill sets, and I think Niskanen is going to continue to keep getting better and more valuable. I'll predict how I think things will shake out in the top-6 depth chart:
(Depth Chart within the next 1 or two years. One of Martin/Orpik will be moved, and I'll use Martin in this example)
(Despres will be in the mix if he doesn't get traded)
Depth Chart in 4-5 years:
(with Maatta and Pouliot knocking on the door to ultimately slot into that Niskanen/Despres for the 3rd pairing)
Or something like that. But it's my best guess that the guys who will be moved in the next year or so, barring injury to one of our top Dmen or prospects will be: Despres, Strait, Lovejoy. We may get little or a mid-rounder for Lovejoy; I think we can get a 2nd/3rd pick or decent 2nd/3rd line winger for Strait; and possibly a really good return for Despres...but that depends on his play this season in WBS)
I view Despres the same way. I actually have stated that I think he'll more than likely top out as a very good #3, but more than likely a great #4.
In terms of our prospects, I see them shaking out like this...
Morrow: Potential to be the best of the bunch. I think he has what it takes to be a huge point producing defenseman in this league. If his defense catches up to his offense, I think he could be an elite #3, a great #2, or if everything goes absolutely correctly, a #1 who you build defensive corps around. I think he'll settle somewhere as a Brian Rafalski type role. Was never really the big guy on any team he played on, but he was incredibly valuable. After you mentioned Scott Stevens on those Devils teams, or Nik Lidstrom on those Wings teams...you more than likely mentioned Brian Rafalski. I think Morrow can be that guy.
Dumoulin: I've seen him 6 or 7 times this season, and have been incredibly impressed. People say he has played sheltered mins, and that may be true, but fact is, the way he has played, I don't think it'd matter who you pair up against him. He has impeccable defensive position, and coupled with his hockey sense and positioning, he has a huge frame and is a really good skater with a long reach. He could probably stand to be more physical, IMO, and that may hinder him from being a bonafide top pairing, shutdown defenseman in this league. If everything goes to plan, I think he can be a good #2, but will more than likely settle in as a good #3 or a great #4.
Pouliot: He's really the wildcard, as it really depends on how he develops the next 2-3 years. I think if he just improves what he's already good at, he'll be a middle pairing guy for his offensive flair alone. Pair him with a guy like Dumoulin...and there you go. Let the guy roam around creating offense while Dumoulin plays back and keeps everything clean. I think with Pouliot, he has a frame, and if he can hang about 200-210 lbs on it...he's going to be a beast. I haven't seen the kid play, but from what I've heard, he's not a slouch physically, and he will knock some heads off. That's good...willingness is 90% of the battle. Much like Morrow, he needs work defensively, and I think he'll get all the work he can handle at lower levels, as we won't need him for probably 4-5 years. I can see Pouliot being a #2, but I personally think he'll be a middle pairing guy. I think Pouliot has the potential to be one of the more frustrating players due to the fact you want to hate him because he's just OK defensively, but you'll love him because he's so good offensively.
Despres: He has the makings of an elite shutdown defenseman. He's huge and skates about as well for a big man as I've ever seen...I mean...serious wheels. The force this kid will be able to generate when he hits will be incredible, if he decides to hit on a frequent basis. I don't think he has the offensive wherewithal to be a big point producer in the NHL. He can pass and support a rush, but I think that's where it will stop. Oddly enough...the JBo comparisons he was drawing in his draft year seem damn accurate. Probably a guy we'll always want a little more from. I think he can be a complementary #2, or make up part of a great shutdown middle pair if he develops. The guy is just stupid strong. I watched him out muscle guys down low often when he was up here last season.
Maatta: I just really know nothing about the guy. Haven't seen him play. From what I've read, it sounds like he and Despres may be able to make up a phenomenal shutdown pair.
I think Morrow is really the only guy that I think is the real keeper of the defensive prospects because I feel he can really do everything well. He's got the offensive skill, he's got the nasty demeanor, he's got the incredible skating ability, the savvy, the instincts, and even the cockiness it takes to be a top pairing defenseman in this league. If his defensive game can be rounded into shape, I think he can be an awesome player.
Last edited by JTG: 12-22-2012 at
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