Tyler Motte left Michigan a year early to pursue an opportunity to turn pro with the Chicago Blackhawks. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Hawks on April 6 then signed an amateur tryout contract with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL two days later.
For Motte the decision wasn't a hard one, according to an interview with Scott Powers of The Athletic.
"It was just gathering all the information, understanding what you could be coming into, the opportunities not just this year, but in the near future and then what are you giving up back at school, the opportunity to graduate in a year," said Motte. "But just for me, really the opportunity now and the near future I could have, obviously it always being the goal and the dream to play professional hockey. But it's just the opportunity I think I'm going to have is a little too hard to pass up because it's just a year left at Michigan."
Motte also believes his left-handed shot and experience at left wing could help him earn playing time.
"That may open an opportunity not only for myself, but other guys in the organization as well. I think of that being a positive for me. Maybe being able to get an opportunity sooner rather than later I think definitely helped the process as well."
The 21-year-old finished his junior season with 32 goals and 24 assists in 38 games. He was third in the nation in points, only to his two linemates (Kyle Connor and JT Compher), and second in goals to Connor when his season ended March 26 in the regional final of the NCAA Tournament. The left winger was a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the nation's top college hockey player.
Motte, who is 5'9 and 193 pounds, was selected by the Hawks in the fourth round -- 121st overall -- in 2013. He is the third player the Hawks have signed from their 2013 draft class, joining first-rounder Ryan Hartman and fellow fourth-rounder Robin Norell, who signed a three-year deal March 31.