BOSTON Mike Mottau hasnt given up hope that hell be back with the hometown Boston Bruins next season, but hes one of many free agents waiting in limbo while a CBA is worked out between the NHL and the NHLPA.
Mottau was with Bruins teammates Shawn Thornton, Tuukka Rask and Daniel Paille taking batting practice at Fenway Park on Tuesday afternoon, and shagging fly balls in the outfield.
This would normally be the final few weeks of the offseason for NHL players before they begin skating, attending captains practices, and getting ready for training camp. But many second-tier NHL free agent veterans are still without homes: Jason Arnott, Carlo Colaiacovo, Petr Sykora, Mike Knuble, Andrew Brunette and Dominic Moore, to name a few.
The former Boston College standout is among those players who arent likely to start feeling serious free agency interest until teams know the parameters of the new CBA, and how much cap space theyll be dealing with moving forward. Mottau has already drawn interest from European teams if there is any kind of work stoppage with the NHL this season, but the veteran defenseman is hoping it doesnt come to that point.
Im waiting things out for now, said Mottau to CSNNE.com. I think once the CBA is close to being squared away things will heat up for me. Ive been contacted by a few teams in Europe, but ideally would like to stay here.
Mottau, 34, played a combined 35 games for the Bruins and Islanders last season and finished with a minus-11 rating along with a pair of assists. The South Shore native said hed be willing to play in a reserve defensemen role with the Bruins if he re-signed in his hometown. It would a perfect role for a consummate pro like Mottau, who can still play solid, smart, mistake-free hockey.
But theres been no real progress toward a deal between Mottau and the Bruins. Boston has signed both Aaron Johnson and Garnet Exelby to two-way contracts for next season while keeping a wary eye at the presently-unknown salary cap ceiling for next season.
The Bruins have five defensemen signed to one-way deals in Boston for next season and 20-year-old Dougie Hamilton is expected to get a good look at the sixth spot. But a work stoppage send Hamilton back to junior hockey, and potentially opening the door for somebody like Mottau.