Nov 9, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) controls the puck as St. Louis Blues left wing Alexander Steen (20) pressures during the second period at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Letang And Maatta Paired For Wednesday's Game?


During an afternoon practice Monday, the Pittsburgh Penguins paired defensemen Kris Letang and Olli Maatta together, speculating that they could be linemates for Wednesday’s game — according to Sam Kasan of the official team website.

Due to the injury to defenseman Paul Martin, head coach Dan Bylsma has been forced to find new pairings for his defense. And because Martin missed practice Monday, it also indicates he’ll most likely sit-out his second consecutive contest.

The combination of Letang and Maatta is something to keep an eye on though. Letang is arguably one of the top-5 best defensemen in the league, and Maatta is a highly regarded prospect who has solidified his spot on the roster at just 19-years-old.

Both players have the potential to benefit greatly from each other’s skill level, and although they’ve each struggled slightly towards puck management, their talent when put together could help balance that issue out. They also are both two-way defenseman, with smooth skating and possess the ability to make improbable plays.

Here’s what Letang reportedly had to say towards possibly skating with Maatta:

“You don’t want to put him in a bad spot or a tough situation. At the same time, he’s in the lineup because he’s able to play the game. I don’t treat anyone differently. I’m just going to try and make him a better player and put him in a good spot.”

Maatta has been paired with blueliner Robert Bortuzzo for the majority of the season, and Letang has for the most part been assigned to Matt Niskanen, but has played with various others as well.

When the Pens’ take on the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow at the CONSOL Energy Center, be on the lookout for the pairing of Letang-Maatta because we very well could be getting a glimpse at what the future holds.

The game can be seen on the NBC sports network, and is set to start at 8 p.m.


Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins

  • TomD

    Whoever is paired on defense with Letang, he’d better be alert regarding his defensive responsibilities. Pairing an inexperienced defenseman with Letang may be a mistake. Letang is -4 after 8 games. Only Jokinen and Engelland are worse, at -5.

    • Johnny

      Letang has certainly gotten off to a rocky start defensively, and on most cases been caught flat-footed. Understanding Maatta’s inexperience, he also hasn’t played too bad alongside Bortuzzo — whose looked wildly inconsistent. The pairing of Letang-Maatta might be what they both need.

      • TomD

        Point taken. For comparison, Bortuzzo is -2 after 13 games. However, if there is a defenseman on the team who needs his pairing partner to be alert and experienced enough to know how to react immediately when needed, it is Letang. If the Letang-Maatta pairing occurs, we’ll see how good a defensive defenseman Maatta is . . . :)

        Scuderi would be perfect with Letang, then Letang could be more aggressive offensively and Scuderi would be there to competently “clean up the mess.” I’m only half kidding.