The Chicago Blackhawks will miss bottom-six forward Tyler Motte during his injury
When Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Motte slid awkwardly into the boards Sunday against the Dallas Stars, the end result didn’t look great. His legs appeared to get awkwardly smashed into the wall, and he was eventually helped off the ice.
Today’s injury estimate may be better than what some were expecting, but it’s still an issue for the Blackhawks. Motte will reportedly miss 2-3 weeks with a lower body injury.
The Blackhawks have a quick replacement for Motte, as previously injured forward Andrew Desjardins is expected to return Wednesday against St. Louis. However, Motte’s absence is not something that can simply be shrugged at.
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Here are three reasons Motte missing time, however long or short, is an issue for Chicago.
He had gained Joel Quenneville‘s trust
This may not seem like a major thing, but a forward being gone for a few weeks can really change his standing with the club if someone else steps up in his place.
In the case of Motte, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Andrew Desjardins who steps up. But by the time Motte gets back, Coach Q might really like what he has going with his lineup. Granted, the team was on a five-game, going on six-game, win streak when Motte got hurt, but crazier things have happened.
Motte was getting really comfortable on the bottom six and with a role on the penalty kill. What if he comes back and those roles have suddenly disappeared?
It could do a lot of damage to Motte’s psyche, and by association the Blackhawks’ future. Motte seems like a budding star, and anything to deter his NHL-level growth is concerning.
Will his speed be affected?
While a 2-3 week injury doesn’t seem like much, it is a lower body injury. We watched Motte’s legs get awkwardly tangled in the boards as he was chasing the puck.
One key thing Motte brings to the table is speed and the ability to move the puck with his feet. Now, Motte obviously isn’t having some kind of reconstructive surgery, but who knows what kind of effect this injury could have on that speed.
Hopefully Motte comes back and is still gliding and flying on the ice like he was prior. Otherwise, the Blackhawks lost a key element from their bottom six.
Motte was faring really well early on
Six points in 13 games may not seem like much, but this is Motte’s first NHL action. For a guy who isn’t seeing top-six minutes and who was involved in a lot of line juggling early on, that’s a really solid output.
In addition to that, Motte was a fine contributor on the penalty kill. Sure, the kill has been primarily awful up until the last five games or so. But he’s getting those minutes and learning how to operate on a big-league PK. That shouldn’t be underestimated, regardless of how poorly the PK was working.
Motte was one of the better performers in training camp, likely only overshadowed by Alexandre Fortin and Gustav Forsling. His injury really stifles this nice run he was on. Hopefully he gets to jump right back in the lineup upon his health reaching 100 percent, and hopefully he can find his groove quickly upon his return.