These days it is easy to forget that the Oilers not only have one Swedish defender in their ranks, next to the recently picked Oscar Klefbom they also have Johan Motin. What about Motin then? Where has he gone? Right next to this text there is a picture of Motin wearing a jersey he will never ever wear again. How do I know? Read on..
In 2007 Johan Motin was the highest ranked Swede and European for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. By then he was #13 overall by ISS, ahead of a certain familiar Oiler, Jordan Eberle. During the mid-season of 2007-08 he was down to 24th. Of course, in the end, Motin wasn’t picked either 13th nor 24th, Oilers managed to snap him as late as 103rd, quite an impressive drop to say the least but I among other thought the Oilers might have got a steal with their 4rd round pick. Motin made his professional debut with Färjestads BK as a 16 year old and have so far one NHL game on his resume.
But.. By the look of it things doesn’t look good this upcoming season for the still young (21) Swedish defender. Since Oilers training camp started I’ve been able to find the name “Motin” mentioned once - he was on a bottom pair with Blain (who’s now been sent back to junior) during the first practice. Motin didn’t show for the Joey Moss Cup and didn’t make the first split-squad games. Come to think of it, Motin was perhaps the only healthy prospects not to see action. Now why is that?
With Färjestads BK he was the 5th D regular as a 17 year old and at that age he saw way more ice time than either one of the 2011 Färjestad defenders (Klefbom and Brodin) that got picked in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. The difference is obviously that both Brodin and Klefbom are 2W-defenders while Motin would be described as a defensive defender (who generally takes longer to develop).
With Motin having his first call-up to the Oilers during the spring of 2010 he had hopes to see more time in the NHL during the 2010-11 season. And to make a long story short, that was far from happening. Motin was sent down to OKC Barons in the 2nd cut which wasn’t totally unexpected. Beginning the season I saw a slight possibility Motin would get a call-up but as the season went on, one could say Motin didn’t. Obviously I personally didn’t see much of Motin, I think I only managed to see three or four games with the OKC Barons but reports from the Copper and Blue Neal Livingston and Eric Rodgers wasn’t what one would’ve hoped and after suffering a shoulder injury in January he never regained his roster spot with the Barons and got sent down to the Stockton Thunder, a place he never want to see again, literary.
Johan Motin ahead of this season and Stockton (freely translated):
I won’t give up and I have no plans to break my contract. This is the last year of my contract and we’ll see what happens next. Sure, some parts of me is looking to go home again and if they move me to Stockton again, I’ve had it. If they do, I’ll catch the next flight home immediately.
Stockton is very special. The week before I went there Stockton was ranked by Aftonbladet (Swedish tabloid) as America’s worst city. I agree. It is the worst city I have been in and then I have also been in Russia. I would not go there again. There is no nice neighborhoods, crime is high and in the center stood a billboard that talked about how this year’s death toll in the city, it stood at 48 when I was there. There were two who got shot very close to where we lived there and while it might not have been dangerous for us, it was uncomfortable. We went between the house and ice rink, it took 15-20 minutes by car. Apart from that, we didn’t go outside the building, at all. I was there a month and that was enough.You could almost say I was glad when we were out of the playoffs after the first round.
But how did it come to this? How did this fine prospect drop from 13th onto 24th ending up as a 103rd pick and today almost totally overseen and forgotten? Too me, it’s somewhat of a mystery, then again - some just don’t translate their game to a small rink, living in a different country and all that comes with that, and it would seem Motin is a prime example of this. What to make on the Stockton talk I can’t really answer to, but hey, at the very least - he is being “honest” (and should it be true I just might feel bad for Roy who’s pinpointed with a assignment in Stockton).
While Motin is still under contract (1 year remaining) it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone if he was axed. The Oilers are currently in need of more roster spots and with 49 out of 50 spots taken, with Motin being one among the 49 it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Motin might soon be out. But Motin have no regrets..
I think I’ve developed a lot in the last two years and I am a much better hockey player now than when I came to North America. I have worked on becoming more of a two-way player and also be able to attack and to become more consistent, do more good matches in a row.
I do not regret the move in any way even if I had my best time of hockey in Färjestad. I develop mentally as well, it’s pretty tough. The coach never talks to you, if you want to know something you have to go and ask. During those two seasons, the coaches said nothing to me even if I’ve had a good game or so.
So where does all of this leave Motin? A player who’s best memory in hockey is his debut with the Oilers while his worst being the more recently demotion to Stockton Thunder. Well, it sure does look like he’s not highly regarded in Edmonton anymore. But at the same time, finding defenders with size (Motin is 6’2, 220lbs) who’ve played as a pro for 4 seasons already are hard to come by. Motin is, as stated earlier, just 21 and as we all know, defenders usually take their time to reach their prime.
Is it too early to give up on Motin? There could still be a very solid defender in him, whether that means he have to go back to Sweden to reboot his career, hoping to get a second chance with another NHL-organization or if he gets a last (?) chance within the Oilers organization remains to be seen. Personally I believe the management have given up on Motin as he isn’t even mentioned - like, ever..
Motin’ got a long way to go to reach the praise he once got. He haven’t progressed as much as one could’ve hoped. One could almost joke about that the only progression he seems to have done is surviving it this long into camp when he didn’t last year but then again, we haven’t even seen him yet. A part of me hopes Johan Motin gets that last chance with the Oilers and grabs it, I mean c’mon - who wouldn’t want to see an Oilers team sporting five (!) Swedes.