After taking the NHL’s version of a three-stop tour of the New York area through the first several seasons of his career, Mike Mottau finally got to come home.
The Avon, Mass., native was traded to the Bruins at the deadline to provide depth on the blue line. He fit the role as seventh defenseman to a tee by working hard in practices, staying sharp enough to not miss a beat when thrown into games after long stretches of inactivity, and playing the simple game expected of a third-pair blueliner.
Team-wise, obviously, Mottau would’ve liked a better playoff result to cap his first stint with his hometown team. But he did all he could to make sure the postseason run lasted longer, and his solid play might’ve done enough to earn him a bigger opportunity elsewhere as a free agent if he opts to leave Boston this summer.
Regular season: With Boston, 6 GP, 0-0-0, minus-1
Playoffs: 2 GP, 0-0-0, minus-2
Contract status: UFA 2012
Regular season recap
Highlight: The day Mottau was rescued from the New York Islanders, who were headed toward yet another playoff-less spring, was a huge day. During his stint with Boston, he continued to show he could be a reliable defenseman with a little offensive upside. He even skated a solid 6:52 as a forward and recorded three hits in a loss to Washington March 10.
Lowlight: With the Bruins tuning up for the playoffs, Mottau logged 20:02 of ice time against Buffalo and posted a minus-1 rating. He lost a battle with Nathan Gerbe, who set up a Jason Pominville goal in a Boston shootout win.
Playoff recap: Just before Joel Ward scored the Bruins’ season-ending goal for Washington, Mottau had stepped onto the bench for a change. He got back out on the ice but it was too late. The breakdown was more the fault of a bad bounce on Benoit Pouliot’s shoot-in that sent the Capitals off to the races, but that wasn’t exactly how Mottau wanted potentially his last shift with the Bruins to unfold.
Grade: B. Mottau was steady in his limited opportunities with the Bruins. He was always upbeat in the dressing room and accepted his role.
Carnac predicts … A team with a need for depth on defense, but with more ice time available to compete for, gives Mottau a two-year deal and he departs Boston, where the Bruins are now a bit crowded on defense.