Back with Rangers, Tyler Motte excited for another playoff run
For the second season running the Rangers acquired Tyler Motte ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline, and after getting a “taste” last year the forward is ready for another playoff run.
“This group is hungry, as you’ve seen all year. You get that close, you get a taste, you always want more,” Motte said Monday.
“Obviously, there’s one goal in mind, but it’s a process to get there,” he said. “We have to get through the regular season, set ourselves up and then really go to work come playoff time.”
The Rangers added Motte Sunday in a deal with that sent forward Julien Gauthier and a conditional 2023 seventh-round pick to the Ottawa Senators.
With 75 points through 56 games, the Rangers head into Monday night's game against Winnipeg four points behind the Devils for second place in the Metropolitan Division and 12 points clear of the Wild Card spots occupied by the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Motte, who first came to New York in a trade at last year’s deadline with the Vancouver Canucks, joined the Ottawa in free agency, and in 38 games there this season, he has nine points (three goals and six assists).
Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant was glad to get the “fast, aggressive little guy” to play the fourth-line center role and kill off penalties.
“He was a big part of our group last year,” Gallant said. “We had success with him and he’s a good hockey player. He knows what we expect from him as coaches and he knows his teammates. It’s an easy fit.”
Motte’s admitted his excitement about the trade may have resulted in him getting to the rink for Monday’s morning skate "a little too early,” but in seeing many familiar faces of teammates and staff the return was
On the ice, Motte hopes it is as easy a transition back into the Blueshirts lineup as it was re-integrating himself onto a familiar team.
"There's no secrets to my game and how I have success, it's just a matter of coming in here, finding which piece of the puzzle you are, and just help this team win,” he said. “That's really the bottom line is just help this team succeed, get into the playoffs, and make a run.”
Motte played just nine regular-season games with the Rangers and 15 in the playoffs a season ago, but that short time left an impression on the 27-year-old forward.
"I've got a great support system with friends and family, but to have a little bit more of it from the city and a place you’ve been for a little bit and want you back, not only from the organization but from the city’s standpoint, it's exciting,” he said.