With twelve days until the March 3rd NHL trade deadline, Rangers GM Chris Drury made his second move, bringing back fourth line winger Tyler Motte to the Blueshirts. In exchange, the Rangers sent right wing Julien Gauthier, along with a conditional seventh round pick in this year’s draft, with the pick turning into the lower of the two sixth rounders they have if the Rangers win a playoff round.
In Motte, the Rangers bring back a known quantity. A player who brings speed to the fourth line, is a trusted penalty killer, and a good forechecker. An opportunisitc add last season, when it cost the team a fourth round pick to Vancouver, Motte played just nine regular season games before being hurt when he was checked into the boards by Anthony Angelo of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the April 7th 3-0 victory.
Motte would return for Game 6 of the first round series against the very same Penguins, finishing with 2 goals and 14 penalty minutes in 15 post season games. With the Rangers constrained by the Salary Cap, Motte departed as a UFA in the Summer, signing a one year deal for $1.35M with the Ottawa Senators.
In exchange for Motte, the Rangers moved right wing Julien Gauthier. The 6-4, 227lb Quebec native showed promise at times, but struggled with consistency, though continued to find ways back into the line-up after falling out of favor in consecutive camps.
A smooth skater, the 25 year old used his size and strength to create opportunities and draw penalties, but his lack of finishing, and his relatively one-dimensional game, meant that he continued to be at risk of being scratched from the line-up.
Gauthier finishes with just 26 points in 131 appearances for the Rangers, and will look to try and resurrecet his career in the Canadian capital.
With the move, the Rangers are projected now to have around $913K of Cap space left on March 3rd. They can increase that number by moving Vitali Kravtsov and his $875K contract, or by reassigning either one, or both of Jake Leschyshyn – $767K and Ben Harpur – $750K.