Thus far, the 2015-16 season must be one filled with frustration for Jarred Tinordi. Stuck between a deep NHL roster and the threat of being lost to waivers if assigned to the AHL, Tinordi was relegated to no-man's land in the press box for the first two months of the NHL season, alongside fellow defender Greg Pateryn.
The starting six defenders were indeed having a tremendous start to the season, and contributed heavily to the success of the top-ranked Montreal Canadiens. It would have been foolish for Michel Therrien to mix up a winning formula, so he kept Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, Jeff Petry, Nathan Beaulieu, Alexei Emelin, and Tom Gilbert in his starting rotation, while Pateryn and Tinordi were forced to endure extra work at practice, and then watch from the press box while the team rose up the ranks of the NHL.
But there is one source of relief that teams can use to give these players some playing time, and that's the conditioning assignment, which allows teams to bypass waivers and give the player up to 14 days of action in the AHL. The assignment is voluntary, meaning the player has to agree to it, and his NHL salary is not affected.
The Canadiens did that with Pateryn earlier in the month of November, and he played three games with the IceCaps which served him well when he was called into duty for the Montreal Canadiens once Alexei Emelin was injured.
Now it is Jarred Tinordi's turn to spend some time with the Icecaps on a conditioning assignment, and he has quickly reminded everyone why he was a first-round pick in 2010, with a tremendous NHL upside.
In his first four games with the IceCaps he has a respectable stat line: two assists and +3, but it was the dominant performance against the Toronto Marlies this past week that really opened everyone's eyes to the talent that this player possesses.
After his first game in the AHL against the Rochester Americans on November 27, Jarred Tinordi was greeted in the locker room by Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, and both were all smiles due to Tinordi's performance. Others also praised Tinordi's play, including IceCaps captain Gabriel Dumont, who quite confidently claimed that Tinordi was an NHL-calibre defenceman.
So what's next for Tinordi? He can technically stay in the AHL for up to one more week, but more than likely he completes the IceCaps road trip this week-end, and returns to the Habs.
Marc Bergevin can also use the AHL stint as a showcase of Tinordi's talent for potential suitors. It was an effective gamble as his trade value most likely rose this week. Alternatively, Bergevin might have seen enough progress in Tinordi's play to feel confident trading one of Emelin or Gilbert. Both could be interesting trade targets for teams, at a lower price. One thing is for certain, that Jarred Tinordi needs to play, and the current purgatory that he finds himself in is not sustainable for much longer.
Tinordi and the IceCaps play Friday night in Utica, against the Comets.