Photo By: Candace Riley © All rights reserved.
After it was announced that Oklahoma City would soon become home to an AHL team, I started looking at the players that would soon call OKC home as well. I began to immerse myself in the Oilers and their prospects, and see what each one might bring to the table. As I came upon Johan Motin, I saw a defenseman that seemed to have a relatively good season on a bad Springfield team in 2009-10. A team that was mired in the minuses, Motin ended the season with a -5 in 55 games, chipping in a goal and five assists. After the jump, my thoughts on his half-season with the Barons, and where I think he may go from here.
After playing the pre-season game against the Vancouver Canucks 2nd-string, Motin was sent down to the Barons in what was the second round of cuts by the Oilers. With the organization so high on Alex Plante; Shawn Belle, Richard Petiot, and Jake Taylor the veterans; and with Taylor Chorney and Jeff Petry on the top end of the D, it was apparent that Motin was looking at the number 7 spot on the depth chart. Motin, however, was able to take advantage of a constant run of injuries to the D-Corps. After being scratched the first weekend of the season, Motin made his debut against the Lake Erie Monsters. After an early-season injury to Jake Taylor, Motin was paired with Petiot in a shutdown role and finished the month of October with an Even rating. After seeing the manner in which Jake Taylor and Richard Petiot played and comparing it to the way Motin played, it's obvious to me that Motin was lacking the aggression needed for that role, both around the net and along the boards. With Taylor and Petiot, you could expect big hits and standing up to the opposing forwards around the net. Motin, on the other hand, never really made much of an impact in that regard. He would rarely win the corner battles, and would be late getting back into position. His biggest weakness was his checking ability, or lack thereof. I can recall a good number of checks by Taylor and Petiot, but I'm struggling to recall any by Motin.
Following an injury to Richard Petiot and the Oilers’ call-up of Shawn Belle, the Barons called up Oilers’ prospect Jordan Bendfeld, whom Motin was paired with in a secondary role. In the couple of games the two played together, the pair never really meshed, and Motin posted a -2 rating. When Belle returned from Edmonton, Motin went back to playing in the shutdown role next to Jake Taylor.
Following the return of Petiot from injury and the call-ups of Jeff Petry and Shawn Belle, Motin began to play musical chairs on D and his stats reflected it -- Motin posted a -6 in the month of December. The writing appeared to be on the wall for the young defender in January. After Motin suffered an injury, the Barons signed Bryan Helmer and Anthony Aiello to try-out deals, and Motin played his last game for the Barons on January 14th against Peoria. Had the injury not happened, I imagine he would have been sent down to Stockton around that point, but the injury kept him with the Barons for a couple more months. In 34 games, Motin finished with a goal, three assists, and a -7 rating.
Motin was sent down to the Stockton Thunder on March 4th, and struggled in his first two games, posting a -3. Motin picked it up though, recovering in the next 12 games to post a +3 while adding a goal and an assist. He played in only one of the Thunder's playoffs games though, posting a -1.
For the 2011-12 season, Motin is really going to have to show something in training camp. With the near complete turnaround of the defensive corps, it's possible he can crack the lineup. With the additions Corey Potter and Taylor Fedun, and the uncertainty of where Taylor Chorney and Martin Marincin will ultimately end up, Motin has a chance, but he'll have his work cut out for him to stay in OKC this season.