One of the most devastating fantasy hockey injuries that came out just before the Olympic break was to D Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Letang apparently suffered a stroke earlier this month, and as a result, the All-Star will be forced to sit out a minimum of six weeks.
The loss of Letang, however, has increased the fantasy value of rookie defender Olli Maatta.
Maatta will walk onto one of the team’s top defensive lines and will instantly become a valuable fantasy commodity considering Pittsburgh’s surrounding cast. In the two games since Pittsburgh received the news about their superstar defenseman, Maatta has seen a drastic increase in minutes. Maatta was averaging a meager 17:43 minutes before Letang’s injury, but the teenager has now seen 21:17 minutes in the two games before the Olympic break.
Speaking of Sochi, Maatta has made his presence felt there as well. In Finland’s opening game, the rookie scored a beautiful goal and finished with three shots on net. The defender also added another goal and two assists in the team’s second game and he is really starting to make a name for himself in fantasy circles.
The 19-year-old is a very offensive minded blue liner and will be an ideal fantasy defender to rely on down the stretch. So if this youngster is still sitting on the wire in your league, it is time someone picked him up already.