There is another player, included in that trade, who was one of the vital inclusions for the Jackets in order to pull off the trade that sent Brandon Saad back to Chicago for a guy who most recently made his Blue Jackets debut.
Tyler Motte came up from Cleveland to fill in for injured starter Cam Atkinson who went down last Saturday in St. Louis.
Motte just completed a hat-trick performance for the Monsters Saturday night and instantly made his impact on the ice Monday for his second big-league club. During the contest against the Boston Bruins, Motte recorded his first goal and logged just over 12 minutes of ice-time as he made his debut on the fourth line.
The University of Michigan man, scouted alongside Zach Werenski, was a player high on Jarmo Kekalainen’s list.
Just like Chicago was keen on Anton Forsberg to occupy the backup goalie job behind Corey Crawford, Columbus saw Motte as a vital piece for depth at forward, and in the wake of losing William Karlsson in the expansion draft to the Vegas Golden Nights.
“I got a call from (Blackhawks general manager) Stan Bowman saying they’ve been trying to get a deal done for a couple of days, and the only way it would go through was if I was a part of it,” said Motte.
As Motte began his Jackets tenure on the fourth line, don’t let the lineup placement fully guide you on his potential. He played on a top line while at Michigan, and on the Blackhawks top line with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik. Motte actually netted his first career goal against Columbus in a Hawks loss.
In seven games for Cleveland, Motte had five goals, two assists, leading the club in goals, points, and 29 shots.
Prior to Monday’s game against Boston, John Tortorella spoke regarding the uncertainty of his fourth line, but grew impressed with Motte from the start, and increased his role as the game went on. A reason why he would also play Thursday in Sunrise.
“Motter just forced me to put him in other situations. From his first shift on I thought he gave us energy and did a lot of good things, so I had to move him into a spot where he was getting more ice time.”
It may not be a surprise regarding Motte’s production as he was nearly an opening night roster add before Josh Anderson ended his holdout, forcing the Jackets to make a cut.
“I thought he had a really good camp. When we sent him down, looking at his face ... the human being in me, I felt terrible. But you know what? After 15 minutes, I’m thinking about another lineup and he should be thinking about going down there to play” said Tortorella.
It was a business then, as it is a business now. Motte understands that, as do players who might suffer their own ice-time reduction if Motte continues to play well during his window of opportunity.
Thursday night against the Florida Panthers, Motte saw an increase in the action, as he started on the second line, and scored his second goal.
He also had a burst of speed toward the end of the game in which he chipped a puck loose along the board at center-ice and carried it in for the breakaway and into the slot. During the broadcast against Florida Thursday, Jody Shelley alluded to the open competition among the Jackets and Tortorella shuffling his forward lines.
With the team scoring seven goals, and two on the power play Thursday night, you see the depth showcasing its potential across the board and Motte is a good example of that so far.