On Friday afternoon, hockey insider Irfaan Gaffar took to Twitter, sharing that Motte has garnered interest from a handful of teams, including the Tampa Bay Lightning.
And although this trade possibility is very much in its early stages, it would also make a lot of sense for both teams if it came to fruition.
Motte has been a heart and soul player for the Canucks since joining the team back in February 2018, igniting both the bottom-six forward group as well as the penalty kill.
The 27-year-old has also produced well offensively this year, notching seven goals and seven assists in 43 games. Much of this success, of course, can be contributed to his recent chemistry with linemates Matthew Highmore and Juho Lammikko.
The trio has been relied upon heavily by head coach Bruce Boudreau, as indicated by their big bumps in ice time, and were actually considered the most dangerous line combination for the Canucks for a handful of games in February, but it’s also important to give individual credit to Motte as well.
Motte is currently on pace to shatter his career-highs in goals (9) and points (16), and has been one of Vancouver’s most consistent players dating back to the 2019-20 campaign.
However, Motte is currently playing in the last season of his two-year, $2.45 million contract, and will likely be expecting a significant raise this summer, both financially and in term.
And although the Canucks would love to hang onto the St. Clair, Michigan native, the organization will also want to make sure they don’t lose him for nothing, much like we’ve seen with previous pending UFAs.
Enter Tampa Bay.
The powerhouse club has lived up to their mighty expectations so far, currently sitting second in the Atlantic Division with an impressive record of 37-15-8, and are definitely on the right track to capture their third consecutive Stanley Cup.
However, much of Tampa Bay’s previous postseason success did come from their gritty third line of Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman and Yanni Gourde, all of whom are no longer with the team.
Both Goodrow and Coleman signed lucrative long-term deals with New York and Calgary, while Gourde was snatched by the Seattle Kraken during the expansion draft.
Given their current depth player vacancies, it’s no surprise that Tampa Bay would be interested in the services of a player like Motte.
If acquired, Motte would be an immediate boost to their penalty kill, which has been average all year with a success rate of just over 80%.
Motte would also inject some much-needed speed into Tampa Bay’s bottom-six group, which is currently being led by veteran players such as Corey Perry and Pat Maroon.
Let’s not forget that Tampa Bay has never shied away from being active at the trade deadline if necessary.
Both Goodrow and Coleman were acquired a few months prior to Tampa Bay’s first Stanley Cup championship back in June 2020. The Lightning surrendered first round picks for both players.
Of course, it’s hard to say if Vancouver will even be trading away players at this year’s deadline given their position in the standings. After their 4-3 OT loss to Washington on Friday, the Canucks currently sit fifth in the Pacific Division with 65 points in 58 games. The team is also just three points back of the Vegas Golden Knights, who hold the second and final wild card position, but who have also lost seven of their past 11 games.
What makes all of this even more interesting? Vancouver and Tampa Bay will be facing off against one another on Sunday night at Rogers Arena, adding another level of entertainment to the match-up. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts on the Motte rumours? Would you like to see him traded at this year’s deadline? Let us know in the comments!