Canucks: A deep dive on Tyler Motte’s game

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 14: Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues makes the first period save on Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 14, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 14: Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues makes the first period save on Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 14, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

Tyler Motte may not be the biggest name on the Vancouver Canucks, but he is one of their most underrated players.

Tyler Motte came to the Vancouver Canucks in a deadline day deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2017-18 season. It was the trade that sent Thomas Vanek to Columbus in exchange for Motte and Jussi Jokinen.

Many Canucks fans weren’t particularly happy with this trade, since they failed to receive draft picks in the return Motte was widely seen a bottom- six player who wouldn’t have much of an impact.

Motte was drafted 121st overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013. He played college hockey with the Michigan Wolverines before signing an entry-level deal with the Blackhawks in April 2016. He was part of the trade that sent Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets a year later.

After 31 games in Columbus, Motte was traded to Vancouver.

In my opinion, Motte is one of the most underrated Canucks on the roster. He is an integral part of the Canucks penalty kill and the bottom six. TSN even gave him some love.

In the video linked, Jay Beagle called him an “unsung hero.” Head coach Travis Green also said Motte doesn’t get enough recognition and is an important part of the team.

The Athletic’s Wyatt Arndt Tweeted his comparisons of Canucks and members of The Avengers. Bradley Thomas of the Area 51 Hockey Podcast compared Motte to Ant-Man, one of the most underappreciated Avengers and a big part of Avengers: Endgame.

Motte is like a non-single track (or a deep cut) on a good album, particularly an album that is underappreciated by critics and the artist’s fan base.

Take British rock band Muse’s 2015 album, Drones. Lots of Muse fans don’t like this album, but I certainly do (mainly because it was the one that got me into them.) One track that is massively underrated is the penultimate track, The Globalist.

It starts off very slow with frontman Matt Bellamy whistling and then singing with the Western-inspired instrumentals. Then, it goes into a metal section where Bellamy plays a fast and catchy riff and energetic solo, before settling into a piano ballad where his vocals shine.

How does The Globalist relate to Motte and the team, you might ask? Well, the Canucks are a sleeper team in these playoffs. Many fans and pundits didn’t think the Canucks would beat the Blues and are very surprised that they’re up 2-1 in the series.

Drones is an album Muse fans and critics sleep on. The Globalist is ten minutes long and starts off slow and rather boring. This part is the reaction to Motte when he first arrived. Many fans didn’t think much of him. The metal part in the song is watching what Motte can do on the ice. This is a representation of myself and many other fans realizing that Motte is actually effective.

The piano ballad part is all the praise from Canucks fans on Twitter as the words “underrated and unsung” are said in the same sentence as his name. The song itself is a perfect representation of Motte, as it is a very underrated track on an underrated album, just like how he is an underrated player on a sleeper team. The instrumentals represents the fans feelings towards him.

Just like The Globalist on Drones, Motte may not exactly stand out, but he does bring an impact.

The eye test

Motte’s biggest strength is the penalty kill. He makes life difficult for the opposing team’s power play by tracking the puck and finding the right opportunity to steal it and clear it out.

You can see a clip here of Motte on the penalty kill when he was with the Blackhawks. He makes similar plays with the Canucks As you can see, Motte tracks the puck and forced to turnover so his teammate can break the puck out and kill valuable time.

The Canucks have already faced plenty of time on the penalty kill in the series against the Blues, and Motte is one of the reasons why they have been successful (mostly) against a very good power play.

Motte makes excellent reads, gets into the areas around the net to clear the puck away while making his physical presence known.

At 5-on-5, Motte is also effective. He provides good speed and drives to the net really well providing energy for the fourth line. Motte also provides defence to the bottom six by blocking shots and breaking the puck out of the defensive zone (he blocked 37 shots this season).

Motte isn’t much of a goal-scorer, but he has a good shot.

As you can see in this clip from a Dec. 2018 game against the Minnesota Wild (at the 2:03 mark), Motte stays close to the net and battled the defenders. Once the opportunity came, he pounced on the rebound.

More from The Canuck Way

The analytics

Once again, Ty Pardy, who co-hosts the Avid Discussers Podcast with me, helped out with the advanced stats in this article.

I was curious to see what the advanced stats say about Motte.

We are going to use Regularized-Adjusted Plus Minus from Evolvinghockey.Com.

Many of you probably don’t know what this i,s so I will do my best to explain it. RAPM originated in basketball with the purpose to look at an individual player’s impact on an NBA team’s point differential.

Eventually, RAPM also found a home with hockey. Of course, teams don’t combine for 100-plus goals in hockey. In hockey, RAPM is focused on shots as a foundational metric.

It starts out with raw shot creation and suppression for a player. RAPM takes every outside influence on Corsi and expected goals and creates a model for one goal: isolate play driving ability.

You can read more about RAPM here.

That being said, let us take a look at Motte’s RAPM on the PK and at even strength. Any stat that is for, the higher the number the better. Against? The lower the number the better.

These stats are from the regular season.  As you can see, Motte was productive at even strength.One can argue that playing with guys like Beagle could be a factor. The stats show that he isn’t as good offensively at even strength, but that he’s a bit better defensively.

However, the penalty kill is where Motte really shines. The numbers improve quite a bit from 2018-19. The 2019-20 stats show that Motte is giving up less shots and shot attempts on the penalty kill, and that he drives the play really well on it.


Motte is a big part of the Canucks penalty kill, and he’s a key reason why it’s been so successful. He works hard, provides speed and energy, and makes good reads so he can takeaway the puck.

dark. Next. The Canuck Way Mailbag: Horvat, Pearson, Hughes

Just like Muse’s The Globalist, Motte is an underrated gem on an underappreciated team.