Amateur Scouts spend hours upon hours on the road, watching hundreds of games each year, analysing every aspect of draft eligible prospects, trying to determine which ones would be better suited for the NHL team they work for. Still, scouting is not a science as those professionals can only assess the performances of such players at that time, on that particular night. Even if they see them more than once, they see how they perform at that age, at that level. Nothing guarantees their development, the work they will be putting into their career, or when they will reach the peak of their career.
PENTICTON, BC. — When the Montreal Canadiens drafted defenseman Jarred Tinordi with the 22nd pick overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, many felt that the Habs were addressing a need, size on defense, and few were disappointed with the pick. Having said that, most were thinking that he was a project and that he was several years away from the NHL as most sizeable late first round picks have been in the past. This is particularly applicable to the position of defenseman, a tough position to learn to adapt at the highest level in hockey in the world.
It was clear that the team’s Director of Amateur Scouting, Trevor Timmins, has been on a mission for character, as discussed in a previous article, and few have more of it than Jarred Tinordi. Some laugh at the notion of character and feel that it’s overrated, but when you listen to Charles de Gaulle talk about it, one quickly realizes that you can never underestimate it, and that Bergevin and Timmins are right about seeking it: “Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own.”
After being drafted, Jarred was scheduled to attend the University of Notre-Dame but the Canadiens played a key role in suggesting that he played in the OHL with the London Knights, who owned his CHL rights, in order to play more games at a higher level. It wasn’t hard to convince the towering defenseman to play for the Hunter brothers, as his father Mark had played a few years with Dale Hunter while both were with the Washington Capitals.
It certainly didn’t take Tinordi long to establish himself as a physical and steady presence on the Knights’ blue line and the following season, he was named captain of the team, leading them to the Memorial Cup finals, a game London lost to the Shawinigan Cataractes, a team ironically captained by Habs’ prospect and Tinordi’s current teammate, Michael Bournival, both of whom will be starting the season in Montreal.
At what proved to be his first year as a professional, on a young Hamilton Bulldogs’ team, Tinordi’s leadership was quickly recognized and he was named alternate captain, a very rare feat all things considered. Not only was he a leader in the dressing room, but he quickly became a keystone of the Dogs’ defense, playing tough minutes for head coach Sylvain Lefebvre, which earned him an eight-game call up with the Canadiens at the end of the season. The big defenseman made the most of it, earning two assists and a plus-5 in those eight games, which earned him to play all five games in the first round against the Ottawa Senators.
And it is with the confidence of a veteran that the 6’6” and 227 pounds 21-year-old American has been playing at training camp since day one, forcing the Habs’ brass to not only consider the option, but to decide to keep him with the big club immediately. Tinordi is showing poise with and without the puck and he has applied what coach Therrien set him up to do, which was to be more physical. He is rarely caught out of position, makes good first passes, uses his long reach to his advantage and he even contributes the odd point here and there.
It’s safe to say that Jarred Tinordi is well ahead of schedule in his development and he has listened to what his General Manager has said at the beginning of training camp, when stating that it was up to the young player to force him to make room on the roster for them. Tinordi has done just that and while the fact that Alexei Emelin and Davis Drewiske are out for an extended period has ensured that he starts the season in the NHL, Marc Bergevin might just have to make room for him permanently, as one of the starting six on the Canadiens’ blue line.
In a not so distant future, Jarred Tinordi will be wearing the captain “C” of a NHL club, whether it’s in Montreal or elsewhere. Have no doubt about it.
Go Habs Go!
En français: Jarred Tinordi est en avance