Former Rangers forward Tyler Motte signs with Senators

Tyler Motte was acquired by the New York Rangers at the trade deadline and played a key role as a fourth-liner and penalty killer in the team’s playoff run.

Per Elliotte Friedman, Motte has signed a one-year contract for $1.35 million with the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. That deal is sure to leave some Rangers fans scratching their heads as to why they couldn’t find a way to keep him.

“Tyler is a tenacious checker who plays the game with pace,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement. “He’s a strong penalty killer and another competitive person who adds to the depth of our group.”

Tyler Motte signs with Senators

tyler motte
May 22, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Tyler Motte (64) celebrates his empty-net goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game three of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Motte, 27, recorded 15 points in 58 games and added 2 playoff goals last season playing a strong checking role for the Rangers.

So why were the Rangers not able to sign Motte?

Well first off, we really don’t know how negotiations went or if they occurred at all. After the opening bell of free agency on July 13, GM Chris Drury was asked about Motte and he said it would be too tight.

The Rangers have a total of 47 contracts with a max of 50 per CapFriendly, so we know that wasn’t the reason. It really comes down to cap space, which the Rangers currently only have $1 million to play with. They need that cushion for emergency call ups.

In order for Motte’s $1.35 million to fit and to keep that cushion, the Rangers likely would have needed to move out either Sammy Blais ($1.523M) and Ryan Reaves ($1.75M). There was little chance of that happening because Blais was the main piece Drury got back in the Pavel Buchnevich deal and an ACL injury ended his season prematurely. Plus, Blais has a lot more potential and upside.

Reaves may seem like a good candidate to move on from due to his age (35) and expiring contract. However, he is beloved by his head coach and teammates acting as a hard-hitting veteran leader. Admit it, you love it when he yells, “SHESTY, RELEASE US!”

At the end of the day, Motte signed for less than I though he would but the Rangers cap squeeze is why they couldn’t keep him.

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