Swedish blogger, and rabid Oil fan Martin Lundén reported that in light of Johan Motin being left behind on the Barons road trip to Illinois, he's left North America to return to his home country of Sweden. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports that, as part of a mutual agreement, Steve Tambellini terminated Motin's contract, thus allowing him to return home to sign a deal with Timrå IK of the SEL.
During an off-season interview, Motin said that rather than play in the ECHL once again, he would head back to Sweden should a demotion to Stockton come to pass. While not an official demotion, being left behind on the road trip could fall under the same category. With the demotion of Colten Teubert and the reclaiming of Taylor Chorney, Motin hasn't seen action since the Barons Kid's Day Game last Tuesday, a frustrating end to his career as an Edmonton Oiler. In ten games with the Barons, had two assists and was +4 on the season. Both of those assists came in the Barons 10-1 rout of the Texas Stars.
Motin seemed to have turned the corner in the early part of this AHL season. As our own Neal Livingston wrote earlier this season:
Johan Motin has emerged as a nasty, but patient defender. After being sent to Stockton, he’s back with a very sharp eye for squeezing into a roster spot where the Barons are lacking. He’s a very strong check-finisher, and is the smart agitator. This role fits him nicely on the farm. He’s in for a great season.
But the turn-around wasn't enough to move up on the now suddenly-deep Barons' defensive depth chart. The emergence of Kirill Tulupov, Ryan Lowery's signing and Kevin Montgomery's re-signing pushed Motin deeper down the depth chart. Frustrated at not being called up, and now being left behind on the Illinois road trip, Motin said in an interview with Hockeysverige.se that he hopped on the first plane out of Oklahoma to join Timrå as quickly as possible.
As for Motin, he's found a good home in the SEL, as Timrå IK Director Kent Norberg said in a team press release:
It's great that Johan chose to play with us the rest of the season. He's a young, developing player that we believe in and hope will get a new lease on life with us. In particular, he will bring the team his defensive abilities.
But Motin has his work cut out for him. Timrå sits in 12th place, last in the Swedish Elite League, five points out of 11th place and in serious danger of relegation. Long-time friend of The Copper & Blue, Jimmy Hamrin, wrote he feels Motin will start on the third pair with Oscar Hedman and strengthen the back-end.