The New York Rangers already traded for star forward Vladimir Tarasenko, but they were not done there.
On Sunday, the Rangers acquired Tyler Motte from the Ottawa Senators, trading for the 27-year-old for the second season in a row.
Ottawa will receive forward Julien Gauthier and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2023. The pick becomes a sixth-round selection if New York advances past the first round of the playoffs.
On paper, Motte is not a flashy addition. Through nine games with the Rangers last season, he failed to collect a point. The 27-year-old did, however, generate two points (both goals) through 15 playoff games.
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) February 19, 2023
Motte qualifies as one of those more-than-meets-the-eye depth players. Merely by keeping his head above water — and maybe occasionally doing more, such as drawing penalties — he can present a subtle upgrade for the Rangers bottom six.
Motte was much better with the Rangers last season (particularly in the playoffs) than he every really had been -- specifically defensively.
It'll be interesting to see if it was just a hot streak (he was pretty good with VAN too), or if Gallant just knows how to use him. pic.twitter.com/fyXZZDrAcq
— CJ Turtoro (@CJTDevil) February 19, 2023
Julien Gauthier, 25, carried considerable pedigree into the NHL as a first-rounder (the Hurricanes selected him 21st overall in 2016). He played 131 of his 136 NHL games with the Rangers, appearing in 30 games in 2020-21, 49 last season, and 40 contests so far in 2022-23.
Every now and then, you see flashes of that first-round talent, just not often enough to earn regular opportunities on a competitive Rangers team. Could he flourish with the Senators? It’s possible, but Ottawa isn’t hurting too much for promising young forwards. At least one Senators observer wonders if the team squandered an opportunity or two on the fringes.
Example of small roster mismanagement: Senators could have claimed Tolvanen off waivers earlier this year and traded Motte for a higher pick. Would have wound up with two better assets than what they got. Granted, Tolvanen's more $, but way more accomplished as a pro too. https://t.co/rfPX1rpO9F
— Graeme Nichols (@GraemeNichols) February 19, 2023
Overall, the biggest takeaway is that the Rangers once again are taking measures both large and small to improve their chances of a playoff run. It’s not hard to picture this team putting it all together for a deep push.