At the NHL’s entry draft five years ago the Canadiens traded up to the first round’s 22nd spot so they could secure the rights to 6’6” defenseman Jarred Tinordi. Subsequently Tinordi played two years with the OHL’s London Knights before turning pro for the 2012-2013 season ‘s with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Since then Tinordi’s hockey career has taken an erratic path. Some would call it a predictable path. Others are more critical.
He spent the first month of this season on the Canadiens roster before being returned to Hamilton where he remained for all but a four game callup in February. At no point during the season was anyone prepared to state that Tinordi was ready to take control of an NHL job. And to some there are grumblings of another first round wasted draft pick on the level of the Louis Leblanc disaster.
During last week’s news conference, Marc Bergevin was asked about the decline in his development compared with the strides made by Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn. ”I wouldn’t say (Tinordi) stepped back, I’d say that Beaulieu and Pateryn took a step forward. Tinordi is still a big part of this team.”
It’s not productive to compare the playing styles of Tinordi and Beaulieu who was drafted a year later. The better comparison is Pateryn who also plays a defensively oriented game. it took a full college career and almost three AHL seasons before Pateryn finally reached NHL-calibre late this season at the age of 24. Tinordi is only 22.
I watched in the neighbourhood of 2/3rd’s of Tinordi’s Hamilton games this season. With developing players you tend to look for the positive things. The first is obviously his 6’6” size. He is also a good skater and would periodically channel his inner-Bobby-Orr to use his speed in an end to end rush. But it takes confidence to execute those plays, and that part of Tinordi’s game is missing on a consistent basis. It’s one of the reasons he remains in the American Hockey League.
I think Tinordi has an identity crisis. He’s not sure what kind of hockey player he should become. He was a first round draft choice because of his potential physical presence. In his own era, father Mark was one of the NHL’s toughest defensemen and one who could handle himself in a scrap. The logical expectation would be that Jarred become a chip off the old block. And he tried to be. But Tinordi is a terrible fighter; so bad that there is the potential of being seriously hurt if he continues to make it part of his game. (See below – video Andrey Pedan kayo vs. Tinordi – January 9th). Alexei Emelin can play a hard checking defensive game without involving himself in fights. It’s something Tinordi must seriously consider for his own well-being.
But Tinordi isn’t a one-trick-pony. He’s a solid checker. He can use his size to effectively clear the goalmouth. With his long stick and wing span, he’s Hal Gill with the added benefit of speed.
Especially among defensive-style defensemen, Tinordi needs to bring game-in game-out consistency. It was notably missing for pieces of last season. That’s the mental part of the game and for many players it’s also the most difficult hurdle to cross. If Tinordi can get past it, he’ll be an NHL regular. If not, well then those impatient early critics will say ‘I told you so’.
Along with the injuries suffered in the Andrey Pedan fight, Tinordi also played through a wrist injury during the latter stages of his AHL season. He underwent surgery on April 20th. He’ll be ready for September training camp.
In the meantime he can become a restricted free agent July first. The Canadiens will be re-signing him. In Bergevin’s words, “He is still a big defenseman that can skate and play with an edge. They’re really hard to get. Some guys take a little more time. It looks like that’s the case with Tinordi.””
Jan. 9, 2015 – Utica’s Andrey Pedan vs. Tinordi