As we inch closer to training camp, Tyler Motte is still a free agent and looking for his next destination. The 27-year-old forward split this past season between the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, where he had seven goals and eight assists in 58 games. Although he isn’t a particularly dominant offensive player, his defensive ability and gritty style of play make him valuable to have in the lineup. As a result of this, we should see him signed shortly. Let’s now take a look at three potential landing spots for him.
New York Rangers
Motte ended up being a very solid trade deadline acquisition for the Rangers. Although he didn’t contribute much offensively, his physicality and solid defensive play worked quite nicely in New York’s bottom six. When looking at the impact he made with the Rangers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them try to re-sign him before the start of the season.
The Rangers have about $1 million cap space, so they would need to get a little creative to re-sign Motte. However, when looking at how well he played with them, general manager (GM) Chris Drury would be wise to at least consider the possibility. Players like him are excellent to have during the playoffs, which he already showed perfectly this past spring.
When looking at the Rangers’ bottom six, Motte would provide them with a notable improvement over what they have right now. Although they signed Ryan Carpenter this offseason, he may be a better fit for the 13th forward role instead of being their fourth-line center. Motte, on the other hand, has proved that he can handle being the latter, so let’s see if that’s enough for the Rangers to bring him back.
The Ottawa Senators have had such an excellent offseason. They notably added Alex DeBrincat, Claude Giroux, and Cam Talbot to their roster and many view them as a playoff contender now because of it. Yet they still have the potential to do more, as they currently have just under $8 million of cap space to work with. Thus, it could make sense for them to make a late-summer splash by signing Motte.
The Senators could certainly use a player like Motte in their bottom six. This remains the case whether he was to be their fourth-line center or fourth-line left winger. Either way, he would provide them with a bit more bite and some much-needed secondary scoring. Furthermore, the Senators would benefit from adding a very solid penalty killer to their roster. This is especially true if they aspire to become a playoff team this upcoming season.
The Senators are in a position where they can bring in a player like Motte and spend a little bit more in the process. This and Ottawa being on the rise could be enough for the Michigan native to be open to signing there. It will be intriguing to see if they can get something done, as there could be a good match between these two parties.
For the first time in years, there is some optimism regarding the Buffalo Sabres’ future. Although they still have more work to do to become a playoff team again, they are at a point where they should be more competitive in 2022-23. Although they have been fairly quiet this summer, they could change that by adding Motte in a last-minute signing.
The Sabres created a new identity during the 2021-22 season as a hard-working team. To keep this momentum going, GM Kevyn Adams should consider the prospect of bringing in a high-energy player like Motte. They have almost $20 million of cap space to work with, so financially it wouldn’t be a challenging task to complete. Furthermore, the 27-year-old could be a nice mentor for the team’s younger players as they continue their rebuild.
The Sabres are not particularly strong at left wing, so Motte could compete for a spot on their third line due to his versatility. Yet, he also would be a very solid addition to the team’s fourth line and could force a player like Anders Bjork out of the lineup. Furthermore, he would have a guaranteed spot on their penalty kill, as they do not have too many two-way forwards who would fill that role as well as him.
Nevertheless, it will be intriguing to see what happens with Motte from here. Although he isn’t a star, he is a quality bottom-six forward to have, and I believe he would be an excellent fit for each of these clubs. Let’s see if one of them ends up signing him before the 2022-23 season officially begins.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.