Tyler Motte dealt with injuries throughout the 2020-21 season, however, when he was healthy, he played an important role for the Vancouver Canucks. Whether it was in his ability to successfully kill penalties, his extremely physical play, or chipping in offensive production behind the Canucks’ top scorers, he played a noticeable role for Vancouver during the 2020-21 season.
An Injury-Riddled Campaign
Motte was hampered by injuries in 2020-21, skating in just 24 games throughout the duration of the season. He spent a large portion of the season on the long-term injured reserve (LTIR) due to an undisclosed injury. He also missed a few games due to COVID-19.
Despite dealing with injuries and COVID-19, Motte managed to string together an impressive season when healthy.
Reviewing Motte’s Play
Motte provided the Canucks with great play in his own zone, killed penalties, and chipped in some offence during his 24-game season. He threw an amazing 100 hits (70 of these came in the first 15 games he played before sustaining an injury), which is equivalent to just over four hits a game. To highlight how impressive this total is, he ranked 70th in total hits thrown this season, despite missing over half of the year due to injuries. He led Vancouver in hits, throwing 10 more than second-placed J.T. Miller.
Motte didn’t just use his body to dish out punishing hits, as he also blocked 28 shots (1.2 blocks per game). He stole the puck from opposing players 13 times, while only giving it away five times, meaning he took away the puck two-and-a-half times more often than he turned it over. His even plus/minus was tied for fourth on the team with Elias Pettersson.
Overall, Motte’s defensive numbers were among the best on the team. Underscoring this is how well Vancouver suppressed shots with him on the ice, while generating opportunities. At five-on-five play, the Canucks had a shots for (SF%) of 51.61. Compared to Vancouver’s general SF% of 46.77, which was the fourth-lowest percentage in the league, the team generated more shots and gave up fewer whilst Motte was skating.
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Motte killed penalties at a slightly better rate than the Canucks as a team. He spent a total time on ice (TOI) of 72:28 on the penalty kill. This is equivalent to killing just over 36 minor penalties throughout the season. During this time, Vancouver only gave up seven goals, meaning they effectively killed 80.6% of penalties with Motte on the ice. Comparatively, the Canucks’ total penalty kill percentage during the season was 79.8%, demonstrating that Motte was one of the team’s most effective penalty killers.
Motte’s offensive play showed signs of improvement this season. He scored six goals and added three assists for a total of nine points, all of which came at even-strength. His 0.25 goals per game, 0.38 points per game, and 0.13 assists per game all are career highs. His six goals and nine points rank as his second-best single-season outputs in each statistic, which is impressive considering he bested them in a 79-game season in 2018-19.
Overall, Motte’s grade this season is an A. As expected, he provided the Canucks with strong defensive play and physicality while also killing penalties. Due to his play and the injuries the Canucks dealt with at centre (e.g. Petterson), he managed to average a career-high TOI of 16:01, which helped him produce more offensively. Motte’s season was derailed by injuries, but he exceeded expectations offensively when he was playing and his great physicality and penalty killing were missed while he was injured.
I am a lifelong hockey fan who will be covering the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks here at The Hockey Writers. Before joining The Hockey Writers I spent two years blogging about hockey.
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