Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved.
A big atta-boy to to dohfOs and his Swedish Oil blog for digging up the latest story on a Swede wearing copper & blue. Announced today, the Barons/Oilers have allowed defenseman Johan Motin to land in the SEL for the remainder of the season. Playing for Timra, Motin will continue to work on his game, and hopefully up his value. The details are still foggy, but reports semi-confirm that Tambellini nullifed the final leg of his entry level contract, that at the AHL level depreciates in value each season. Motin had long done what he’d been asked to do including suffering in Springfiled, moving to OKC, embracing a demotion to Stockton, and then returning to Oklahoma City. The unfortunate twist to this story is that Motin was in the midst of a fantastic season in OKC despite not cracking the lineup consistently. 10 games, two assists doesn’t leap of the page, but watching him play the nasty aggravator was impressive. He was the closer around the boards and emerged as the most aggressive defensive player through the first six weeks of the season.
So Motin is gone, and so is his tenure as an Oilers prospect. But the head scratching begins.
It appears that the Oilers want two types of defensive players to be tended on the farm. First, they want the big, strong, sturdy guy; ala Colten Teubert and Alex Plante. Second, they want the puck movers; ala Taylor Chorney and Jeff Petry. But upon further examination, three out of the four defensemen listed above aren’t NHL caliber players, and sometimes feel very far from becoming so.
Chorney, who survived a trip to St. Louis and was scurried on his way as Hitchcock promotes a good defensive core with the Blues, hasn’t panned out over the duration of his minor and major league career. Alex Plante falls into this motif as well. He’s big, brawny, and tough – end of story. Teubert is still a work in progress, but remember, he’s the guy that got tossed into the Penner trade with a first rounder. He’s hardly the apple of the NHL’s blue line eye. But I’m going to continue to give him a pass as we’ve not even seen him skate for a full season as an Oiler. So what’s wrong with Motin?
Johan Motin, a guy that has improved ten fold over this mark last season, is a tough as nails defender with very few lingering rough edges. He doesn’t have the bulk, but he’s got the speed. He may not move the puck, but he can remove it from a forward. He’s a very skilled and gifted defensive player. And he’s young, which bodes well for his career arc.
In my opinion both Chorney and Plante are gone after this season. Teubert gets a pass, but come January 2013 he better have proved he’s important or he’s gone. That leaves my mind hurting and wondering how a young, forward-progressing defender can be tossed around in the mix, and find himself needing an out to play in the SEL. Trust me, there is more to this story. Either Motin wanted more playing time, a better salary, or a closer-to-home playing venue (or all of the above); but regardless, his stock was on the up, and the organization dumped him.
Was he the defender of the future? Not necessarily, but he was improving, and that’s all that he was expected to do. His growth curve was moving more rapidly than every other defender on the farm. One can only imagine where he’d might be at the mid-season mark. In the end, something had to give on the Barons blue line logjam. Unfortunately, he drew the small straw, but will most likely prove us all wrong. And it’s quite refreshing to see a player take matters into his own hands, and get what he wants in the moment. Because Motin deserves it along with more credit for morphing into a real, solid hockey player. So long Motin.