Heading into the 2020 bubble playoffs, many fans around the league may have never noticed Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte. He had registered just 38 points in 187 games to that point in his career, bouncing from Chicago to Columbus to Vancouver as a depth player moving in and out of the lineup. But in that condensed postseason, Motte made a name for himself with endless energy and a few well-timed goals, helping the Canucks reach game seven of the second round.
When things resumed for the 2020-21 season, the bang-and-crash forward suddenly found his role increased for the Canucks. He averaged more than 16 minutes a night through his first 15 games, scoring five goals in the process. Unfortunately, he was injured in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and eventually found himself on long-term injured reserve, meaning he’d miss a good chunk of the season. He dealt with two other stints on the sideline with injuries and ended up with just 24 games played last season.
Now, after it was made clear that Motte wouldn’t be available to the Canucks at the start of training camp, Rick Dhaliwal and Thomas Drance of The Athletic have confirmed it is because he is rehabbing from an undisclosed surgery. Vancouver GM Jim Benning explained that the team will “see where [Motte] is at here in the next three weeks.”
On the second season of a two-year contract signed after that strong playoff performance, Motte will carry a cap hit of $1.225MM this season. That three-week timeline mentioned by Benning likely refers to the period from now until the team’s first game, which will be held in Edmonton on October 13. If Motte’s not ready to join the lineup by then, the team will have to find another option to take his minutes and penalty-killing role.