2006-07: Michael Latta played for the Waterloo Minor Midgets this season, picking up 118 points in 73 games.
2007-08: Latta was selected in the 1st round (6th overall) of the 2007 OHL Priority Selection by the Ottawa 67’s. In his first year of professional hockey, the center totaled 28 points (14g+14a) in 50 games. He saw the box a lot, racking up 78 PIM. He was named to the 2008 Ontario Under-17 team that competed in London, Ontario but missed the tournament due to an illness.
2008-09: This marked Latta’s second season with the Ottawa 67’s (OHL) and he proved to be improving over his freshman campaign with the club. In 23 games with Ottawa, the center netted eight goals and 13 assists for a total of 21 points. He was acquired by the Guelph Storm on Nov. 25, 2008 in exchange for Anthony Nigro, Travis Gibbons and a 2nd round selection in 2009. In 42 games with Guelph, he managed to record 36 points (14g+22a) and another two assists in four playoff games. He represented Team Orr in the 2009 CHL Top Prospects Game. During the skills portion of the event he knocked out four targets in six shots to claim the shooting accuracy event. Latta was chosen by the Nashville Predators in the third round, 72nd overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft.
2009-10: In his first full season with the Guelph Storm, Latta scored 33 goals, 40 assists for 73 points in 58 games. The centerman also earned 157 PIMs. He added 2 goals, 7 assists for 9 points in 5 playoff games with Guelph. Latta appeared in 1 playoff game with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals but did not crack the scoresheet.
2010-11: Latta made his pro debut with AHL Milwaukee late in the season; joining the Admirals after leading Guelph with 10 points in the Storm’s high-scoring, six-game OHL playoff series with Saginaw. Latta saw limited ice time In four regular season games and seven playoff contests with Milwaukee. He had 1 assist and was an even plus/minus with two PMs. Latta was the Storm’s second-leading scorer during the regular season behind fellow Predators’ prospect Taylor Beck. Latta scored 34 goals with a team-high 55 assists. He was also the team’s leader in penalty minutes (158) and finished -4. In six playoff games he scored 5 goals with 5 assists and was -3 with 11 PMs. Four of his five playoff goals were scored on the power play.
2011-12: Latta skated for the Predators’ AHL affiliate Milwaukee in his first pro season; getting off to a fast start before suffering a broken wrist in January that kept him out until mid-March. He finished the season with 14 goals and 13 assists in 51 games and was plus-eight with 100 penalty minutes. The Admirals finished second in the North Division before being swept by Abbotsford in the first round of the AHL playoffs. Latta had one assist in the three game series and was minus-one with 2 penalty minutes.
2012-13: Latta spent his second pro season in the AHL, beginning the year with Nashville’s AHL affiliate in Milwaukee before an April trade which sent him to the Capitals along with Martin Erat in exchange for Filip Forsberg. He scored 9 goals with 26 assists in 67 games with Milwaukee and was +9 while leading the Admirals with 184 penalty minutes. Latta played nine regular season games with the Capitals’ AHL affiliate in Hershey, scoring 1 goal with 2 assists, and was -3 with 14 penalty minutes. The Bears finished fourth in the East Division and lost to Atlantic Division champion Providence in a first round playoff series. Latta scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was an even plus/minus with 6 penalty minutes in five playoff games.
2013-14: Latta made the Capitals out of training camp, making his NHL debut in a game at Chicago on October 1st and skating in two games before being assigned to AHL affiliate Hershey. He was back with Washington in November and played in one game in December during two call-ups. In 17 NHL games he scored 1 goal with 3 assists and had an even plus/minus with 12 penalty minutes, averaging 7:42 minutes of ice time. Latta played 52 games for Hershey, finishing second on the team with 134 penalty minutes, and was +14 with 14 goals and 20 assists. The Bears finished fourth in the East Division, two points behind Norfolk for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Latta was re-signed by Washington to a two-year contract as a restricted free agent in July 2014.
Latta may not have ideal size for an NHLer but he has shown that he has ample heart. He has the willingness to compete in the corners and in front of the net. Latta is an effective playmaking center who improves his linemates both through skill and by setting an example. He is a detail-oriented forward who makes up for limited athleticism with his work ethic and thoroughness. He is not afraid to drop the gloves in defense of his teammates or to turn the tide of a losing effort.
Latta attended training camp with the Capitals and is in his first full NHL season in 2014-15. While he has shown some offensive elements at the AHL level, his role this season with Washington has been that of a lower line energy forward and when necessary, an enforcer. Long-term Latta could one day develop an offensive component to his game in the way that players such as Steve Downie or Brandon Prust who cut their teeth as battlers eventually did. His energy and leadership make him a valuable bottom line role player at the NHL level.