Rangers report cards: Grading New York’s Centers

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers during warm up prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 18, 2023 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers during warm up prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 18, 2023 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 20: Tyler Motte #14 of the New York Rangers skates in his first game for the team against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 20: Tyler Motte #14 of the New York Rangers skates in his first game for the team against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Rangers report cards: Tyler Motte: B+(Wasn’t on the team)

The Rangers didn’t re-sign forward Tyler Motte last summer due to cap constraints, and he was dearly missed. The Blueshirts were without a consistent fourth-line grinder for the first part of the season. Yet as fate would have it, Motte would return to Broadway when the Rangers acquired him from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline.

After returning to New York, Motte scored five goals and provided five assists. However, it’s never been a numbers game with him.

His role is to handle those fourth-line responsibilities. You know, killing penalties, blocking shots, dishing out hits left and right. He did a fantastic job of that in the postseason. He marinated the flow of play and paved the way for the Blueshirts stars to make an impact when they returned to the ice.

That said, there’s a limit to how much impact a fourth-liner like Motte can make, which is why he went unsigned this offseason.

He’s become a victim of the league taking skill over toughness, even though Vegas’s championship run showed the old guard and the importance of big bodies still exists. Of course, the Rangers couldn’t take Motte back again due to cap casualties, but there’s always the deadline, right?