The Tyler Motte injury clouds NY Rangers deadline day plans
The New York Rangers are expected to be relatively quiet during today’s trade deadline. Given they’ve made two huge splashes with Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane, there wasn’t much else for them to do. However the Tyler Motte injury suffered last night may change things, depending on its severity. It may open other paths to shore up roster depth.
Tyler Motte injury opens LTIR considerations
The Tyler Motte injury, if long term, opens up some interesting depth options courtesy of LTIR. We know the Rangers have been playing shorthanded for over a week now, and were denied an emergency recall by Gary Bettman. They also won’t be at full strength until, at best, next week.
If the Tyler Motte injury requires LTIR, then the Rangers open about $1.3 million in cap space to add. LTIR is a minimum of 3 weeks (roughly), which would take Motte out until the end of the season. But the Rangers could go full Tampa Bay Lightning and have him return for the playoffs. If you’re getting deja vu, it’s because this happened last year as well, just without the LTIR.
If the Rangers go with LTIR to manage the Tyler Motte injury, they could, in theory, make another depth trade or call up someone like Jake Leschyshyn or Jonny Brodzinski to fill the gap.
Could they trade Motte?
Per Arthur Staple, the Rangers are looking to shed some salary. It’s not entirely clear how that can happen, but it’s safe to assume playing with 16 skaters for a week is the catalyst. The only player they could possibly trade is Motte.
It’s funny how quickly things can change. Motte’s acquisition was done without Kane in their plans. Again, the Rangers were out on Kane after the Tarasenko trade. Once Kane forced his way to the Rangers, it created the cap situation and a potential desire to shed salary.
We can Monday Night Quarterback this whole thing if we want, but it’s more productive to think about possible solutions. Before the Tyler Motte injury, he was the only player that could have been traded to free up cap space. The drawback, of course, is finding a cheaper replacement that has similar or better impacts on the ice. That’s not a guarantee.
As horrible as this sounds, perhaps the best case is being able to put Motte on LTIR. It gives him time to heal, and he’s shown the ability to hit the ground running when he returns for the playoffs. This would give the Rangers flexibility to either call up some bodies from Hartford or add depth and improve the probable Black Aces for the playoffs.