by Denis Savage
Playing four years at Boston College, Mike Mottau was able to break all scoring records for points by a defensemen and became just the third defensemen to win the Hobey Baker award given to the top collegiate player in the nation. At 6’ and 200lbs., Mike has decent size to go with his offensive prowess. A 7th round selection of the Rangers from the 1997 draft Mike could end up as the steal of the draft.
At 23 he is just reaching his true potential. Mike plays a sound defensive game to go with his offensive vision. He does not mind throwing his body around and still could add some more muscle to his build in the next year. His true potential lies in his offensive game though. Mike has great ice vision and pinpoint passing. He may end up being one of the quarterbacks of the power play unit in time. He has one of the more refined slap shots around, hard, accurate, and keeps it six inches off the ground. Perfect to get through traffic. Mike is an excellent skater who can bring the puck up from one end of the ice to the other. He does need to improve on his strength on the puck and working in the corners.
Mike has shown a nice progression with his game. Although he missed a few weeks of camp in his first pro season he bounced back well. He totaled 44 points in 66 games for the Wolfpack and made it into 18 games for the Blueshirts. Although not out of place with the Rangers he had limited ice time and ended up as a –6 in plus/minus rating for them. Not a big concern as the Rangers had the most goals allowed but it could tell the tale for this coming year.
Mike will likely start the year in the AHL refining his game. He has become a part of the “numbers crunch” among defensemen on the Rangers. With a few other “puck-moving” defensemen already ahead of him on the depth chart it seems that he will have to get his minutes down with the Wolfpack. He will be the first player called up should a player go down to injury. At the AHL expect him to continue to get major minutes of power play time and become a force with the youthful prospects the AHL may have this year. Mikes stint in the AHL this year could end up being more valuable than anyone’s as he learns to play with some potential future Rangers on the power play and gets a chance to mesh with them. He will also get time on the penalty kill as he looks to improve his solid two-way game. There is always room for improvement and hopefully the next time we hear Mike’s callup to the NHL it will be reminiscent of a time we all remember well…Mottau! Mottau! Mottau!