The Canadiens won’t play another NHL game until February 26th. Between now and then their Hamilton Bulldogs farm team will play five games and all eyes will be on two of the Canadiens most promising prospects, defenseman Jarred Tinordi and right winger Sven Andrighetto. Each has made enormous development strides this season; Tinordi in his skating and confidence and the rookie Andrighetto coming back from an injury to play a dominant offensive role which has been capped by an eight point week and AHL player of the week honours.
Well all know about Tinordi. Big guy. The Canadiens traded up to get him in the first round of the 2010 draft, 22nd overall. Slow start in the Ontario Hockey League after transfering from the US junior development programme. Halfway through his second year with Hamilton, his skill-set has caught up with his 6’6″ 227 lb. body
It all seemed to come together this past weekend. Going into the weekend he had 1 goal and 4 assists in 41 games. Against Binghamton and Toronto he came away 2 goals and an assist. This, in the Marlies game Sunday, capped it off.
One goal in the American Hockey League does not make a career and without getting dangerously ahead of the curve, that goal did remind those of us from a certain demographic, of this from a former Canadiens defenseman who had size and could skate and was drafted 20th 43 years ago.
There is little sense promoting players to the NHL until they can dominate in the American Hockey League. Tinordi is at the stage where he is starting to do that.
So is 20-year-old rookie pro Sven Andrighetto. After going undrafted through his first two years of eligibility the Canadiens used their fifth pick in the 2013 draft to take him from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. The rap is his 5’9″ size but there are things that can trump size as we’ve found out with David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher.
Despite missing 12 games with a lower body injury, he is the top goalscorer on the Bulldogs with 12 and his 29 points in 31 games are second on the team. Eight of those points came in four games last week capped by this, Sunday in Toronto.
RDS reported two weeks ago that the reason the proposed Rene Bourque for P.A. Parenteau deal with the Colorado Avalanche fell through was the Avalanche demand that Andrighetto be included in the trade. We’re told that Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin wanted nothing to do with that. Good thinking.
There are others on the Hamilton roster who show promise. I like what right winger Christian Thomas has been giving the club in recent weeks following a series of injuries. Defenseman Greg Pateryn seems close to establishing an NHL job. Another rookie, defenseman Darren Dietz has shown early promise but call it the flavour of the week if you wish, but at this point in time, Tinordi and Andrighetto are the ones to watch.