For the second straight year, it looked like Tinordi was ready for full-time NHL action. However, just like in 2013-2014, Tinordi didn't stick. The smooth-skating, towering defender saw his NHL time go from 22 games to just 13.
In the NHL Tinordi never looked awful, but his inability to consistently make fast-paced decisions with the puck continued to be problematic. While he continued to be a solid defender, it's clear that his puck plays need work. Last season, Tinordi notably improved his puck skills; however, he never seemed to find that same confidence this past year.
The voting for Tinordi ranged considerably. The lowest vote was 19th place, while the highest was fifth. The majority of voters place him in the 8-9 range.
Top 25 Under 25 History
He debuted on the list back in 2011 with an encouraging ranking of #10. The following year saw him climb slightly to #8, which was followed by another modest improvement, to #7 in 2013. Last year was Tinordi's best rank, cracking the top 5.
Tinordi’s combination of size, skating, and reach makes him a good shutdown defender. Despite his towering stature and often clumsy-looking movements, he gets around the ice quite fast. His pivots are precise and smooth, while his backwards skating generates power and speed. Although his edge work isn’t particularly good, he’s quite spatially aware, allowing him to protect himself and the puck quite well.
Tinordi’s incredibly rare combination of skating and reach make him a difficult defender to beat, which has been demonstrated throughout his time in London, Hamilton, and Montreal. He has an active stick with an accurate poke check. Although he can beat through the tripod, his body positioning and skating often allow him to stop the forward from gaining anymore ground. On the penalty kill, he’s exceptional. He shows no fear blocking shots or disrupting passing lanes.
One of Tinordi’s strengths is his strength. It often gets brought up that Tinordi needs to be more aggressive and physical, but that’s not necessarily the case. While he certainly demonstrates a preference to a puck-first defensive style, he has shown time and time again shown that he can obliterate forwards if need be. The beauty of Tinordi’s game is often that he doesn’t have to be the aggressive, punishing defender because he wins foot races and disrupts the puck carrier before it’s necessary to lower the boom. Additionally, he's quite disciplined for a defender who plays an aggressive game.
In the past couple of years, Tinordi’s puck skills have shown notable improvement. While he appears clumsy, he’s a fairly good puck mover, combining his reach, skating, and puck protection skills. However, he’s still far from an offensively gifted player.
Where Tinordi’s biggest flaws lie is in the mental game. There’s no denying that he doesn’t have much confidence. He has a tendency to play too safe a game, relying on uninspired poke checks and hammering the puck off the boards.
With the puck on his stick, his fragile confidence is very noticeable. He often panics and takes an extra second to make decisions leading to turnovers and defensive miscues.
Tinordi lacks a true point shot, as he simply doesn’t get enough power behind and he needs a vast amount of space to get off an accurate shot. His passing game is wildly erratic, but at his best he makes a solid breakout pass. However, it’s been quite evident that Tinordi doesn’t have a consistent offensive drive.
It's also worth noting that even though Tinordi possesses a ton of strength, he's not the best fighter. He generally uses his reach to overpower his opponents, but from a technical standpoint he struggles. With the Bulldogs he was often cast in the enforcer role, despite other players on the roster being better suited for it, and that led to some scary situations, including when he was knocked out cold by Andrey Pedan. Truth be told, Tinordi shouldn't have to fight AHL goons and run the risk of more concussions.
Tinordi certainly has plenty of NHL upside. His combination of size, skating and smarts makes him a rare breed of NHL defender, and a very desirable one at that. While his offensive upside appears quite low at this point, he's an intelligent player with excellent tools.
Tinordi will be in for quite the battle for a spot on the blue line. P.K. Subban, Jeff Petry, Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin, Tom Gilbert, and Nathan Beaulieu look to be the most likely top six (barring a move of course), while Greg Pateryn's solid NHL play likely makes him the favourite for the seventh spot.
Beyond Tinordi's inconsistent confidence, there's another troubling factor that appears to be working against him at this point. For the time Tinordi will be eligible for waivers this upcoming season, which puts him in a tricky situation. If he's not ready for NHL action and gets sent down, there's a great chance that he will get claimed.