Over the next six days the Straight will analyze what might be done with each of the Vancouver Canucks’ six major restricted free agents. In the third instalment, we look at Tyler Motte’s fate.
Tyler Motte played over 21 minutes in the Vancouver Canucks’ opening game of the season against the Calgary Flames. Which is… weird? From January on, Motte saw over 15 minutes of time on ice just twice. And that makes a tad more sense.
He’s a prototypical fourth-line winger that skates hard and gets in on the forecheck. But he had 16 points in 74 games and middling underlying numbers to boot (he posted a minus-6.4 Relative Corsi on a team that wasn’t very good).
The organization seemingly likes him (he wasn’t a lock to make the team out of camp last year but did so anyway, bumping Sam Gagner to the AHL), though it’s not clear if he produced enough last season to earn another contract.
It’s still not clear if he’s even a full-time NHLer at this point. After all, he played more games in the AHL than in the bigs on his first two franchises (Chicago and Columbus). His 74 contests with the Canucks last campaign more than doubled his previous NHL single-season high.
What the player will want:
Motte isn’t in a place to ask for much more than a qualifying offer (a 10-percent raise on his current cap hit of $925,000). It’s hard to see a longer term deal being on the table when his future in the NHL is still somewhat in doubt.
What the team will offer:
It comes to down to whether the Canucks decide to qualify Motte. We think they probably will. He’s a player that coach Travis Green (rightly or wrongly) has a decent amount of trust in, and if the team finds some other options for the bottom six, he can easily be dropped to the AHL (where he would probably clear waivers).
He’s cheap and the Canucks love his hustle so he likely gets a qualifying offer and comes back to Vancouver for another year. Something tells us it’ll be his last with the team though.
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