There was a time, after helping lead Detroit Honeybaked to a national title, being selected for the NTDP, and making an early commitment to the University of Michigan at age 16, NTDP U18 forward Tyler Motte looked like he could potentially be in consideration to be selected in the first round of this year's draft. As his draft year, approached, however, expectations cooled a bit. Part of the problem is that while the other players in his age group kept growing, Motte has topped out at 5'9", causing some concern about his size, and while he was among the top scorers on the NTDP U18 team this past year, he didn't put up the type of dazzling numbers a first round pick would be expected to score.
That said, there is still a lot to like about Motte's game, which has kept him on the NHL's Draft radar, and will likely get him selected somewhere in the draft. Foremost is the fact that he has always been a very strong, agile skater. Motte also added quite a bit of grit to his game this year, showing a great compete level and making up for his lack of size by using his quickness and tenacity to win puck battles. He's also still got some pretty good offensive abilities, finishing second on the U18 team with 26 goals scored on the season.
The other impressive thing about Motte's season is that he seemed to turn in some of his best performances against the toughest competition he faced. He was arguably his team's best skater in a 3-3 tie against Minnesota early in the year, scored a pair of goals in an upset win over his future team, the University of Michigan. He also led the US in scoring at the World U18 championships, with eight points in seven games. That bodes well for ability to have success at the next level when he moves on to play for Michigan at the NCAA-level next year.
At the pro level, Motte's upside is to be a feisty two-way forward on a second or third line that can provide some occasional scoring punch. He's projected to be selected somewhere between the 3rd and 5th round of the draft, though I have him ranked pretty solidly in the second round on my board.