In addition to the Pierre-Luc Dubois rumor, another rumor broke, with a soft confirmation by Mollie Walker about Tyler Motte re-signing with the Rangers. No details were given about potential contract terms, which gives us a combination of excitement and pause. Motte is a great role player and would really solidify the projected fourth line, but the contract could be a concern. As like this morning, I have some thoughts.
1. The elephant in the room is the contract. As mentioned numerous times, the two most likely scenarios from Evolving-Hockey’s contract projections were one year at $990k (28% likelihood), or four years at $2.9 million (29% likelihood). Naturally, four years and $2.9 million is way too much for a fourth liner, no matter how much we like him. A contract like that would certainly be a hindrance for the Rangers.
There are also two and three year terms, with the two year deal at $1.6 million (14% likelihood) and three years at $2.2 million (21% likelihood).
Anything more than two years is a concern with Motte re-signing. Even if the Rangers get him at less than the projected amounts, committing that much term to a fourth line player isn’t a good strategy, and is the basis for the concerns with Baclay Goodrow. Same thing applies here.
2. Worth noting that Vancouver wanted to re-sign Motte, but he wouldn’t accept anything under $2 million a season. That is the rumor, although I’m unsure if that was ever confirmed. If that’s the case, and if the Evolving-Hockey contract projections hold true for Motte, we are likely looking at a three year deal for Motte. I’d prefer to keep Motte under $2 million, but it doesn’t seem like that will happen.
3. Contract risk aside, Motte re-signing with the Rangers is a much bigger win for on-ice play than many will give credit to. The Rangers didn’t have a role for their fourth line in the playoffs. It wasn’t a shutdown line, nor was it an offensive line. It was there to eat minutes, which it didn’t do overly well outside of the first shift against the Penguins.
Motte is one piece of forming a solid shutdown line. On the season finale of Live From The Blue Seats, we mentioned Gustav Rydahl as a potential 4C, and given the comfort level he had in Sweden, it makes sense that he would have been given a soft guarantee of an NHL roster spot.
If that’s two-thirds of your shutdown line, then you’re looking at some combination of Goodrow, Sammy Blais, Dryden Hunt, and Ryan Reaves as the 4RW. That’s solid depth, but expensive depth.
4. The Rangers hemorrhaged shots all throughout the playoffs, and that lack of a role from the fourth line played a major role. The Blueshirts were run ragged by Sidney Crosby against the Penguins and by most of Tampa’s entire team in the Eastern Conference Final. They need a true shutdown line that goes up against the Crosby’s of the world.
The goal should be to mimic what Anthony Cirelli did to Mika Zibanejad. Not necessarily get pinned in the defensive zone the entire time, but limit quality and quantity against with a tenacious forecheck that pins these guys in their own defensive zone and unable to generate anything.
5. What Motte doesn’t do is generate offense. That’s fine, assuming the Rangers both get offense from the three other lines and use this fourth line in the proper role. Chris Drury was big on roles heading into the 2021 offseason, and that will again be the focus this offseason.
6. Coming full circle, we know the impact of Motte re-signing on the ice. The big question is what Motte re-signing will do to their cap situation in the coming months and years. Until that information is leaked, or until the signing is confirmed, we are making uninformed guesses.
7. Motte Girl Summer is a tagline from The Broadcast Pod in Vancouver. They sell some great Motte Girl Summer merch, and all proceeds go to mental health initiatives in Vancouver and Michigan (where Motte is from). If you’re looking for a great pod and supporting a great cause, they are the women to follow. You can buy some merch here.