Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Michael Smith on 09/19/10 at 07:35 PM ET
Though Lou Lamoriello still has his work cut out to get the New Jersey Devils under the $59.4-million salary cap, one area with a little flexibility might be the blueline.
While no GM would want to give up a player like Bryce Salvador, rumored by many to be one of those moved for salary relief, knowing that an insurance policy like Mike Mottau is waiting could help ease the blow.
On Friday, Lamoriello wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a return for the former Hobey Baker-winning Boston College alum.
From Fire & Ice:
“That [door] is not closed,” Lamoriello said.
So, there’s still a chance Mottau could be back?
“Yes,” Lamoriello said. “There’s always a possibility.”
If he did come back, it wouldn’t be the first time Mottau has bailed the Devils out, either.
Last year when injuries struck down top New Jersey defensemen Paul Martin and Johnny Oduya, it was Mottau who took on the burden of top-pair minutes against some of the best competition the Devils faced each night. Only Andy Greene played more minutes than Mottau’s 22:15 a game and only Colin White faced better competition according to stats from Behind the Net.
It happened a few seasons earlier, too, when Mottau took on a more prominent role after an ugly eye injury to White.
There’s seems to be this sort of negative undercurrent among fans toward Mottau, one that we just don’t understand. He is a smart hockey player and a great teammate. He’ll play with an edge. He has poise with the puck, he can skate, and he can deliver a good outlet pass. Maybe most importantly, he has been willing to take on whatever role is necessary.
Is he equipped to be a top-pair guy? Probably not, but he gave it his all because it’s what his team needed.
Would he, though, make an excellent depth defenseman and come with a liquidation sale price tag at this point? Absolutely.
If the Devils are indeed forced to move someone on defense, Lou Lamoriello won’t panic because he knows Mike Mottau is ready, willing and able to do what he can to help the team.
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