Jarred Tinordi is big. While many other things about him as a hockey player may be in question, this part certainly is not. At 6'07" and 215 pounds, up from 6'06" and 201 pounds at the draft. Tinordi projects to be a mountain of a man. But does he project to be a good NHL hockey player?
Tinordi was taken 23rd overall in 2010 after Montreal traded their 57th overall pick to jump 4 spaces in order to secure him. This was done to counter other teams, especially Vancouver, that reputedly had their eye on the American defender, leaving Tinordi the only Montreal selection from the first 100 picks of that draft. As such, there is a lot riding on this pick with Tinordi joining the small group of top 60 picks by Montreal over the past four years (Kristo, Leblanc, TInordi and Beaulieu). Tinordi was selected after a strong year for the American National Development Program including captaining their U18 squad.
After completing his stint with the US National Development Team, Tinordi joined the London Knights and was hyped as their replacement for Capitals stud young defender John Carlson. This backfired as Tinordi struggled greatly during the initial half of the year with the responsibility of being a leader on a not particularly strong defensive unit which lead to many questioning his selection. This was made more surprising by how strong a showing he put up in Montreal's off-season camps and pre-season games, where at points he looked like he was carrying the veteran Spacek rather than Spacek carrying the prospect. However, he was said to have much improved over the course of the season and became something of the shutdown presence that was expected of him. He also notably was working on his pugilistic skills becoming a frequent fighter at the OHL level.
Tinordi's progression has been reflected by the Summer team USA World Junior Camps he attended. He was largely an after thought and an early cut to his first last summer while during this summer he was something of a physical and defensive force. He survived the cuts until the end of camp and looks to have a very strong chance to make a very deep group of American blueliners this Christmas in Alberta, likely in direct competition with Austin Levi to be a lower pairing physical and defensive defenseman. His prospects have been directly increased by Jamie Oleksiak's defection to team Canada and Connor Murphy's injury issues. An encouraging sign from that camp was how Tinordi frequently threw his weight around against opposing forwards, playing the kind of physical role that many hope he will bring to the Canadiens in the future.
Boucher Scouting has looked at Tinordi play a number of times, most recently at the team USA WJC summer camp which can be found here, here and here, with his evaluation camp being the strongest showing. Scout Corey Pronman has him pegged as the Canadiens' 6th best prospect and a likely future third pairing defender
Tinordi is big, tall, currently relatively strong and likely to get stronger. He also plays with a notable mean streak, which was reflected by his team leading penalty minutes in London last season. He also skates very well for a 6'07" player, although not nearly as well as say Buffalo's mammoth blueliner Tyler Myers. He is quite adept and using size and positioning to angle off attacking forwards to the fringes of the offensive zone and away from high percentage scoring areas, a skill that is vital for a future NHL career as a defensive blueliner. In comparison of how he has looked in the Canadiens' pre-season and his stint in the OHL, it seems to me that he is far better when playing a specific and limited role which play to his particular skill set rather than being used as a general blueliner. While his overall puck skills are poor, he is pretty good at making simple low risk passes to move the puck forward.
While his skating is good for his size that does not mean he is an excessively mobile defender. His most notable weakness though is his puck skills, with essentially no ability to carry the puck and bare minimum offensive abilities. If he does make the NHL he would have to be paired with someone who has a full suite of offensive, puck moving and puck handling skills to compensate for his glaring deficiencies there. While he was not drafted for offense, even defensive defenseman that make the NHL tend to have stronger offensive stats than Tinordi which is worrisome. Given how far from expectations he was in the OHL, some question whether he really has the talent to be a big league defender although his recent strong showing at the WJC evaluation camp seems to have mollified some of that.
Tinordi is expected to be a much better player in the OHL next year and to make a strong push for a spot on team USA at the U20 tournament. Beyond that as a project with a very lopsided skill set, he would be expected to have a long prefessional apprenentiship period before being ready for NHL ice. I would expect him to play 2-4 years in Hamilton before the NHL is a serious possibility. The general expectation his that he will become a faster and meaner version of Hal Gill. However it should be noted that in order to play Gill's excellent positional defensive game a very high level of hockey intelligence and ability to read the play is required. Whether Tinordi can develop those skills is an open question at this point.
If his development goes well I would expect Tinordi to become a good 3rd pairing defenseman that his used heavily in his own end and on the penalty kill, with the outside chance he might turn out to be a decent 2nd pairing shutdown player.
|#11 Alexander Avtsin||#10 Jarred Tinordi||#9 Aaron Palushaj|