The Rangers have acquired Tyler Motte from Ottawa in exchange for Julien Gauthier and a conditional seventh round pick.
The conditions for the pick that if the Rangers advance past the first round of the playoffs then Ottawa will get the “lower” of the Rangers or Jets 2023 Sixth round pick.
He has three goals and six assists in 38 games for Ottawa this season.
Motte signed a one-year deal worth $1.35 million with Ottawa last summer after remaining unsigned through the offseason.
Adam Rotter: Chris Drury brings back a player who never really should have left. The issue last summer wasn’t that the Rangers didn’t want Motte, it was that everyone from the Rangers to Motte himself expected that he would get more than a one-year deal and more than what he signed for.
The Rangers instead signed Ryan Carpenter, Gustav Rydahl and eventually Jimmy Vesey because they couldn’t afford to wait and hope Motte’s price came down. Ultimately though, Motte is back and at a negligible cost. He became a fan favorite through the playoffs last year and the Rangers have spent most of the season trying to stitch together a fourth line. Now the Rangers will likely go with a fourth line of Motte, Barclay Goodrow and Jake Lesychyn, though Goodrow, or Motte, could swing up at times and Jimmy Vesey could swing down.
Julien Gauthier had reached his end with the Rangers, though I do think that he established this season that he can be a regular role player in the NHL. Gauthier has all of the tools to be a Chris Kreider-type player with his speed, size and ability to drive the net, but he had gone as far as he could with the Rangers. Two coaches tried with Gauthier, Seattle passed on him in the expansion draft and now he will get, presumably, some level of a chance with Ottawa. He could have stuck around as a fourth liner that probably would have been in and out of the lineup down the stretch and into the playoffs, but instead the Rangers exchanged him for a player that they know will play and play meaningful minutes for them. It’s possible they have another move coming before the deadline, one where they would acquire another rental for depth and/or to replace Lesychyn and make him the 13th forward.