After starting the season hot with six points in the first 12 games, Tyler Motte has cooled off. Motte also missed some time with an injury, and since returning November 19 he hasn’t scored a point.
After being extremely productive in college at Michigan, Motte has had to change roles on the Blackhawks. He has been in more situations at the pro level where he has been asked to kill penalties and play smart defensive hockey. He’s done a good job blocking shots and battling in front of the net at the NHL level, which has helped his overall game.
The Blackhawks definitely like Motte because he’s a “yes man.” This means he’s willing to do and say all the right things to put the team in front of himself. Not a lot of guys like standing in front of the net or killing penalties, but doing the dirty work gets you ice time.
Blackhawks’ Penalty Kill
This explanation will be short, much like my tolerance for this statistic:
The Chicago Blackhawks currently rank 30th in penalty kill percentage at 72.7.
Yes, that number is atrocious but let’s do our best to break it down.
It all starts with a penalty. Currently, the ’Hawks are 26th in the league with 214 penalty minutes. The Blackhawks don’t have a specific player in the top 100 players with the most penalty minutes in the league. The player with the most minutes is Jordin Tootoo with 16, and he rarely plays anymore.
Through 30 games, the Blackhawks have given up 16 powerplay goals in 96 opportunities. To the Blackhawks’ credit, most of these goals came earlier in the season where even if the puck was a cheeseburger, nobody on the ’Hawks could stop it from going in the net.
Interestingly enough, the Carolina Hurricanes are first in the league in penalty killing at 92.3 percent. I think I’d rather be in first place and have a horrible penalty kill percentage, but regardless this needs to improve.
Blackhawks’ Faceoff Percentage
The Blackhawks are designed to be a puck possession team, and you can’t be that without the puck, right?
The ’Hawks are currently ranked 25th in the league, winning 48.2 percent of all draws. It doesn’t help when your best faceoff player has been out due to injury. Below is a list of faceoff percentages for Blackhawks centers prior to Tuesday’s win against the Rangers:
- Jonathan Toews – 60.3
- Marcus Kruger – 50
- Dennis Rasmussen – 46
- Artem Anisimov – 44.5
- Vinnie Hinostroza – 37.9
- Nick Schmaltz – 32.2
Getting Toews back helps a lot, but he can’t do everything. Maybe this will be something Stan Bowman will look to address via trade at the deadline this year.
Smaller centermen such as Schmaltz and former Blackhawk Teuvo Teravainen had trouble winning faceoffs at the pro level most likely because of their size. Going against guys like Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux and Ryan Kesler isn’t an easy thing to do regularly. Let’s hope more help is on the way.