When the Montreal Canadiens traded up in the 2010 NHL draft in order to select Jarred Tinordi, his overwhelming size was tantalizing, but the numbers he had put up as a teen were extremely underwhelming, which led to some serious doubt in regards to his NHL potential, which a rough first season in the Ontario Hockey League did little to dissuade.
The following season saw a 50% increase in his points per game, and in spite of struggling with injury, Tinordi led the always stacked London Knights in plus/minus (limited statistic that it is) in just 48 games played, yet still, there were reservations, and for good reason.
In our Top 25 Under 25 series, Bruce Peter coyly included 13 links in one paragraph to players who were drafted in around the same range as Tinordi in other drafts, for similar surface attributes, all of whom proved to be spectacular draft busts. Yet somehow, although it looked like there would be a possibility that Trevor Timmins had fallen into the size and toughness trap, he seems to have found the diamond in the rough.
Jarred Tinordi does have size and toughness in spades, a quick perusal of his page on Hockey Fights will show a 7-0-2 record in the NHL, many of which were straight up massacres. However toughness isn't the standout part of Tinordi's game, the fact that he's 6'6" tall and can skate, move the puck, and make plays is.
Tinordi has been well protected by the Canadiens early in his career, starting 53.97% of his non-neutral zone shifts in the offensive zone, and playing against relatively weak competition, but it's important to remember that even P.K. Subban was broken in the same way.
Through the first 40 games of his career Tinordi has a shockingly impressive 54.98% Corsi for percentage, which ranks him 18th in the entire NHL among defensemen over the last three seasons. His Fenwick is even more impressive, at 55.7%, tied for ninth in the entire NHL among defensemen over that time. Clearly Tinordi wouldn't be able to put up those gaudy numbers against the best in the league, but being able to beat up on the bottom of the opponent's lineup is important, as we saw last season.
The rarity of Tinordi's skill set combined with his frame is hard to grasp, so for comparison's sake, we can look at an even more heralded giant defenseman in Jamie Oleksiak in Dallas.
The Canadiens' coaches tried harder relatively to give Tinordi easy minutes, but the end result was better sheltering for Oleksiak, yet Tinordi outperformed him fairly significantly.
Tinordi's ability to drive possession allows the Canadiens to always have someone that pushes the puck up the ice from the back end, putting Tom Gilbert and Andrei Markov together in tough minutes, and letting P.K. Subban dominate on the top pairing.
What is truly impressive about Tinordi's excellent start to this season, with the obvious caveat of a miniscule sample size, is that he has actually managed to improve both his Corsi (57.03%), and Fenwick (58.14%), while his zone push has disappeared. Tinordi is now starting a majority of shifts in his own end, just 42.86% in the offensive zone, yet the excellent performance remains.
Tinordi may never be a big point producer, but his play in getting the puck into the opponent's end will continually create opportunities for his teammates to score, and his own play in the offensive zone hasn't been too shabby either, with two assists in five games.
There isn't enough data available yet to know just how good Jarred Tinordi might be, but every little bit we have so far hints that his actual talent is far beyond that of his draft pedigree.