CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward prospect Tyler Motte gets what type of player he has to be if he’s ever to play in the NHL.
“You just got to come out here and compete,” the 20-year-old Motte said at the Blackhawks’ recent prospect camp. “That’s my style of game, just get on pucks, get to the net, backcheck, block shots, things like that. That’s how I’m going to make it at the next level.
“Just talking to some of the guys, that’s what they expect from me. I’m not the pure-skill guy who is going to walk through some people. I understand that and I’m comfortable playing that style of the game.”
Motte showed he’s comfortable and quite effective playing that way during the week-long prospect camp. Plenty of people took notice, too. Motte’s name was one of the most mentioned by Blackhawks personnel at the camp’s conclusion.
“Motte had a great camp,” one Blackhawks scout said.
Motte was constantly around the puck throughout the camp’s scrimmages. He forced turnovers by forechecking and backchecking. He was physical and finished his hits. He won puck battles. He also displayed some offensive game and had one of the week’s prettier plays with a no-look back pass to set up a goal in the final scrimmage.
Motte has made strides in his development since the Blackhawks drafted him in the fourth round in 2013. As a sophomore at Michigan last season, he had a career-high 31 points (nine goals and 22 assists) and led the Wolverines’ forwards with 43 blocked shots. He also played for the United States in the World Junior Championship.
Motte has been focused on adding strength to his 5-foot-9, 193-pound frame.
“I think strength is a big thing,” said Motte, who missed last year’s prospect camp due to school obligations. "I feel stronger on my skates out here, more comfortable going into corner, battling with guys. Obviously the skill set playing in college the last couple of years has helped tremendously as well. I feel stronger on the puck, having the vision and making a few more plays, knowing where some of the other guys are going to be.
“Development the last couple of years, I feel like I’ve done well. And it’s just good to come out here and put it against some other guys and see how they’re doing.”
Motte will return to Michigan for his junior year. He’s not looking beyond that, waiting to consider whether he leaves school after his junior year to sign with the Blackhawks.
“It’s not what’s important right now,” Motte said. “Just getting here, developing as much as I can going into next year, coming in hot and playing well, that’s what important.
“Step by step from these guys, it will come when it comes. Later on we’ll talk. It has to be a lot what they feel as well. It can’t just be me saying I want to make the jump or I want to stay again. It can’t be one or the other. It’s got to be both of us going into it. I’m not too worried about that. I’m focused on my junior year, our team at Michigan. It’s just great to be here developing a little bit more in the summer.”