Welcome to another summer of Blackhawks’ Future Friday. In this weekly column, we explore some of the prospects in the Blackhawks’ system, and see how far they’ve come in the past year, as well as discuss their future with the club. This Friday, we take a look at a 2013 draft pick that is making a name for himself at the college ranks: Tyler Motte.
Motte was the Blackhawks’ fourth-round selection at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, 121st overall. Coming off an impressive season with the US National Team Development program, his small size and far-from-flashy playing style caused many NHL GM’s to pass over the forward, but Stan Bowman made Motte a Blackhawk with his fourth pick of the draft.
Motte has been a staple of USA Hockey’s development program since 2010, when he attended their 15-player development camp, before beginning his season with the Detroit Honeybaked U-16 team that fellow Blackhawk Patrick Kane spent time with in 2003-04. In that year, Motte put up 23 goals and 37 points, to go along with 20 penalty minutes in 34 games.
The next season, Motte played for the USNTDP U-17 team in Ann Arbor, scoring 25 goals, 41 points, and 62 PIMs in 53 games. He also made his debut at the U-18 level, with one goal in two games. With the USHL team, Motte scored 15 goals and 28 points in 36 games. His only post-season experience that season came with the USHL club, where he scored two goals in two games, but finished with a -4 rating.
Heading into his draft year, Motte played full-time with the U-18 club, with 45 points and 26 points in 67 games, to go along with 50 penalty minutes. He impressed again at the USHL level, with 11 goals and 17 points in 26 games, coupled with a +14 rating. He joined Team USA at the U20 World Junior Hockey Championships, recording 7 points in 7 games, en-route to USA’s third title.
After the Blackhawks selected Motte at the 2013 Draft, it was time to begin his college career, joining the University of Michigan, which he committed to in 2011. He finished his rookie season with 9 goals, 9 assists, and a +9 rating in 37 games with the Wolverines.
Hockeysfuture.com describes Motte:
"“For what Tyler Motte lacks in size or skill, he makes up for with his hustle and hockey sense. Motte is a strong skater and moves around the ice with ease. His offensive game is not all that flashy, but he works well with his linemates and knows where to go to score. Motte has been a productive player at the junior level… He proved to be an excellent penalty-killer at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championships and is more than willing to fill the role of a checking line forward. Although he is undersized, Motte fits perfectly into the “speed, hockey sense, and character” mantra of the Blackahwks front office.”"
Fans could make a few comparisons with some current Blackhawks as well as their farm-hands, but the most common would certainly be ‘Hawks center Andrew Shaw. Both were taken in the latter half of their respective drafts, and both come in under 6 feet tall, but play a character game with tons of physicality, and an offensive touch to boot.
Motte will play at least one more season with the Wolverines in 2014-15, and will either decide to play two more NCAA years, or sign with the Blackhawks. If he chooses the latter, it is likely he will begin his journey through the ‘Hawks ranks with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, the Blackhawks’ top affiliate. However, with a constant work ethic, he could be considered to make the Blackhawks’ roster in 2015-16.
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