2010 NHL Free Agency: What about … Mike Mottau?

At this point in free agency, the focus shifts from the gems to flawed guys who can still bring some skill to the table. So, going forward, we’ll spotlight individual players who are flying under the radar.

Previous Entries: Slava Kozlov, Alex Frolov, Willie Mitchell, Lee Stempniak, Maxim Afinogenov, Patrick O’Sullivan, Marek Svatos.

mikemottau1.jpgToday’s entry: Mike Mottau

Name: Mike Mottau
Height:6-0 Weight:190 lbs.
Position:D
Strengths: Very versatile, can log big minutes, nice mobility, some offensive skill
Weaknesses: Not a big hitter, won’t put up fantasy hockey offensive numbers, steady but not spectacular in general

It’s been a tough off-season for goalies and many depth forwards, but I’ve noticed that middle pairing defensemen/sub-elite blueliners often made a relative killing. From the big deals earned by unrestricted free agents Paul Martin, Dan Hamhuis and Zbynek Michalek to the hefty earnings by RFAs including Marc Staal, it’s been a seller’s market for defensemen in a free agent market that’s been bone dry for other position players.

That doesn’t mean that every capable defenseman is sitting fat and happy this September, though.

One player who seems lost in the shuffle is underrated Devils defenseman Mike Mottau. Joe passed along this story from Andy Strickland that came out a week ago, fitting in nicely with the under-the-radar nature of Mottau’s free agency. Strickland points out some of the reasons why Mottau should already have a job.

First, he hits the kind of numbers that non-sentimental, stat-crunching dorks like myself enjoy seeing.

1. Ranked 2nd in the entire NHL in average shifts per game with 31.5 shifts per game

2. Ranked 3rd in the entire NHL in total shifts with 2,489 (1st Pronger- 2,552 2nd Bouwmeester- 2,516 3rd Mottau- 2,489 4th Marek Zidlicky- 2,476)

3. Ranks 15th overall among all NHL defensemen in +/- over the last 2 seasons with a +28 rating

mottaufightsavery.jpgThen again, an overly negative dissenter might point out that newly acquired Anton Volchenkov would soak up those minutes and that Mottau might not be that worthwhile on a team with … you know, actual above-average defensemen (seriously, what happened to the Devils blueline?). Others might yawn at all of those numbers. The thing is, Mottau appeals to the crowd who values character over numbers.

7. Versatile & Durable – Can play the PP and PK as well as playing the right or left side. Has averaged 78 games per season over the last 3 seasons

8. Character & Grit- Received New Jersey’s Players Player Award- voted on by his teammates. Link to fight with Sean Avery

Maybe Mottau isn’t an all-world player or the kind of offensive force who will draw much All-Star or Norris Trophy interest, but surely a team in need of a versatile defenseman could use him … right? Why wouldn’t the San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals or any other contender try to throw a reasonable one-year offer his way?

Again, Mottau won’t change the very makeup of your team, but defensive depth is becoming a premium coveted by the team’s upper crust. Don’t be surprised if he helps a team climb another level or two this season, even if most of his work only ends up being appreciated by his (new) teammates and a few nerds like myself.

(John Fischer of In Lou We Trust has a nice breakdown of Mike Mottau – and also asked why he hasn’t been signed yet – in an August post.)

Scroll Down For:

    Video: Predators even series with Sharks after franchise-record triple OT thriller

    9 Comments

    The marathon is over. The Nashville Predators are back in the series.

    The Predators have evened their best-of-seven second-round series with the San Jose Sharks at two-games apiece after Mike Fisher finally broke the deadlock with 8:48 remaining in the third overtime of an instant classic in these 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Fisher buried a rebound in front of the San Jose net to give the Predators a massive 4-3 win on home ice.

    The goal capped off a frenetic (and lengthy) overtime session that was nothing but utter chaos at times in the opening extra frame. By the end, Fisher was almost too exhausted to describe the winner. Can you blame him?

    Twice, the Sharks, who could’ve put the Predators on the brink of elimination with a win, thought they had scored the winner. Joel Ward couldn’t quite bury a wrap-around attempt before just about every player on the ice, it seemed, converged in the Nashville crease — some working to put the puck in the net, others working to keep the puck out.

    The puck, somehow, never crossed the line, though some members of the Sharks raised their arms in celebration as if they had the decisive goal.

    Later in the first OT period, the Sharks again thought they had won the game, only to have a lengthy and controversial review determine Joe Pavelski “…made incidental contact with Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne before the puck crossed the goal line, preventing Rinne from doing his job in the crease,” according to the league.

    Adding to it all, the Predators were unsuccessful on two OT power plays. That opened the door for the Sharks, who were awarded power plays on two Shea Weber penalties in overtime but also couldn’t capitalize.

    The Predators were less than five minutes away from losing this game in regulation, and going down 3-1 in the series, before James Neal tied it with 4:21 remaining.

    ‘We earned it,’ says Spezza after Stars regroup to even series with Blues

    St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) looks on as Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza, second from right, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
    AP Photo
    Leave a comment

    The Dallas Stars faced the possibility of going home facing elimination. That was the scenario Thursday, as the Stars battled the St. Louis Blues in Game 4.

    The previous game didn’t go well at all for the Stars. They were thumped 6-1, as things turned nasty between the two teams, and, most importantly, they fell behind in the series. There were serious questions surrounding their goalie duo that includes Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi. And Tyler Seguin was ruled out for Game 4.

    Yes, things weren’t working in favor of the Stars.

    But after a poor start in the opening period Thursday, the Stars fought back with Cody Eakin playing the unlikely overtime hero in a crucial Game 4 win. And Lehtonen was able to settle in after allowing that Vladimir Tarasenko goal in the opening period, stopping 24 of 26 shots.

    “You really do have to stay level,” Jason Spezza told the Dallas Morning News.

    “It’s the best two-of-three now, it’s momentum swings. We survived some breakaways, and the last two periods we played right and we earned it.”

    Video: Game 4 overtime between Sharks and Predators has been utter chaos

    6 Comments

    Overtime between the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks in Game 4 has been, simply put, crazy.

    Take, for instance, this goal-mouth scramble around the Predators crease in which Joel Ward couldn’t convert on the wrap-around and the sequence turned into a full-on scrum as players for both teams fought desperately to either score or somehow keep the puck out of the net. Somehow, the puck stays out.

    The Predators need a win to even the series. The Sharks can put the Predators on the brink of elimination with a win.

    Oh, and the controversial video review as the Sharks thought they had the winner, as Joe Pavelski swept the puck into the net after a collision with Pekka Rinne.

    Here’s an explanation from the NHL Situation Room:

    At 7:34 of overtime in the Sharks/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a review under the terms of a Coach’s Challenge to review the “Interference on the Goalkeeper” decision that resulted in a “no goal” call.

    After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed that San Jose’s Joe Pavelski made incidental contact with Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne before the puck crossed the goal line, preventing Rinne from doing his job in the crease.

    Therefore the original call stands – no goal San Jose Sharks.

    Cody Eakin plays unlikely hero as Stars even series with Blues thanks to OT win

    Leave a comment

    Needing a win to even the series with the St. Louis Blues, the Dallas Stars didn’t get off to the greatest start Thursday.

    On a rather embarrassing play in the first period of a crucial Game 4, the Stars were caught on the television feed clearly with six skaters on the ice, but still surrendered a breakaway goal on a stretch pass to a wide open Vladimir Tarasenko — 1-0 Blues. Again, not a great start for the Stars.

    Sometimes in hockey, it’s apparently not always about how you start but how you finish. The Stars gained strength during the second period on goals from Radek Faksa and Patrick Sharp just 1:09 apart. Early in overtime, Cody Eakin scored his first goal of these playoffs to give the Stars a 3-2 win.

    This series is now tied heading back to Dallas for Game 5. For the Blues, it’s a missed opportunity to put the high-flying Stars on the brink of elimination.

    Eakin snapped a 17-game scoring drought that stretched into late-March of the regular season by going top shelf, short side of Blues goalie Brian Elliott just 2:58 into the extra period.

    Jamie Benn and Patrick Sharp each had two-point nights for Dallas, assisting on the game winning goal.