Don't Sleep on Tyler Motte, Who is Making a Late Push to Make the Blue Jackets Roster

By Rob Mixer on September 27, 2017 at 7:20 pm
Tyler Motte
Aaron Doster - USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Motte was one of several players to use Tuesday's "final audition" to his full advantage.

His name hadn't come up all that often earlier in camp. Having arrived this summer from the Chicago Blackhawks in the Artemi Panarin-Brandon Saad trade, the Blue Jackets saw Motte as a player who could potentially fill a role lower in their lineup. Motte's speed and versatility were pointed out by GM Jarmo Kekalainen after the deal was completed, which seemed to indicate he would be a candidate for penalty killing time at the very least.

But until Tuesday night, Motte's camp performances were only OK. The Blue Jackets aren't looking to him to score 30 goals (though he did so at the collegiate level with the University of Michigan), but other players on the roster bubble had done more. Sometimes, you simply get beat by the guy ahead of you, but Motte is putting forth a last-gasp push to make the club's decisions difficult.

He scored the opening goal on Tuesday night and looked, for much of the game, like a reliable player who could play in a variety of situations.

"It's an up-and-down thing all for the guys in camp here," head coach John Tortorella said last night. "One thing with (Motte) -- he can skate. I tried to use him killing penalties. I put him situations that if the opportunity arises and he continues to do the things where he can fit within our lineup. He had a good game."

Motte could get another opportunity as the Blue Jackets have two preseason games remaining this week, at Nashville tomorrow and in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon. Tortorella cautioned that, though some players may make the cut for opening night, the situation is fluid as the season goes along.

"This can all be interchangeable as we go through the year, but I think we have a pretty good idea of what we're going to do here," Tortorella said.

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