It’s hard to project what the Chicago Blackhawks will look like the next time they’re a competitive club. However, there probably won’t be many faces left from this year’s team.
With a few exceptions, Chicago has a pretty veteran-heavy group and one that’s designed to lose many games. Considering the signing of Jack Johnson this past offseason, it may have seemed strange to see the team acquire yet another veteran defenseman in Jarred Tinordi. The Blackhawks claimed the 30-year-old off waivers from the New York Rangers on Monday, and he’s skated Chicago’s first two regular-season games.
Now, Tinordi hasn’t lived up to the billing of being a first-round pick. Since making his NHL debut in 2012-13, he’s floated between the NHL and the American Hockey League (AHL). He’s never been able to find a full-time role at the NHL level, as he’s been part of six different organizations.
Tinordi won’t be more than a depth piece for the Blackhawks, but that’s not a bad thing. From injuries to call-ups to possible trades, Chicago’s roster is bound to fluctuate this season, which is why having him around should be valuable even if he’s not a key piece. Here’s a look at his career thus far, along with where he could fit in and what he’ll bring to Chicago.
Tinordi’s NHL Career
A Minnesota native, the Montreal Canadiens drafted Tinordi 22nd overall in 2010. He made his NHL debut with the club in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, skating in eight games, before bouncing between the NHL and AHL until he was traded to the Arizona Coyotes in Jan 2016.
Tinordi skated in seven games with the Coyotes in 2015-16. From 2016-19, he was solely an AHL player as he spent time in the Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Nashville Predators’ organizations. It wasn’t until Dec 2019, he returned to the NHL with the Predators, skating in 28 regular-season games and later playing in all four games of Nashville’s qualifying-round series against the Coyotes in Aug 2020.
Tinordi then began the 2020-21 campaign with Nashville before the Boston Bruins claimed him off waivers in Feb 2021. After skating in just 14 games with the Bruins, he signed a two-year deal with the Rangers the following July. However, he spent most of last season with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack and played in just seven regular-season games with New York.
With a solid defensive core already in place, the Rangers waived Tinordi earlier this week, which is how he ended up with the Blackhawks. While the Rangers and the Blackhawks are in two different places, it’s worth noting Tinordi will likely have the same role in Chicago he would have had in New York — a seventh or eighth-depth defenseman.
Tinordi Is a Reasonable Addition to the Blackhawks
Despite being a rebuilding club, the Blackhawks have one of the weakest left sides in the NHL. After last week’s trade of Riley Stillman and Jake McCabe’s current injury, it makes sense for Chicago to want another veteran. Tinordi isn’t an upgrade over either player, but he will give the group some flexibility.
In addition, though prospects Alec Regula, Filip Roos and Alex Vlasic have shown promise, they could still be sent to the AHL at any time. This could give Tinordi a chance to prove his worth as a full-time NHL player and get opportunities he probably wasn’t going to get with the Rangers. That’s not to say he’s the best option the Blackhawks have, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Tinordi stay with the team for most of the season even if he isn’t in the lineup every night.
As a rebuilding club likely to sell more assets, another reason why bringing in Tinordi makes sense is Chicago might want to trade some of their veteran defensemen as the season goes on. Assuming they keep selling, players such as Connor Murphy and McCabe could be of value to some clubs. If trades occur, having Tinordi should benefit Chicago considering he’s an NHL-caliber defenseman, and it would also mean not having to rush as many prospects from their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.
Related: Meet the New Blackhawks: Petr Mrázek
With a cap hit of $900,000 and set to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) next summer, Tinordi’s also a cheap addition. Despite having yet to prove himself as a consistent NHL player, the Blackhawks have cap space available. Tinordi’s cheap contract, along with the fact he’ll give the team an additional presence, makes him a worthwhile addition even if he isn’t the flashiest name.
Tinordi Should Bring Size & Stability to Chicago
At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, Tinordi brings size and an element of physicality. With just 13 points through 111 career NHL games, he doesn’t bring much offense, but he’s shown characteristics of being an adequate stay-at-home defenseman.
With the career he’s had thus far, it’s hard to see Tinordi becoming much of a fan favorite, and he surely won’t be a long-term piece. However, even as a journeyman who’s struggled at the NHL level, the adversity he’s faced in his career makes him an easy player to root for. During his Bruins’ tenure, Tinordi also played under Blackhawks’ assistant coach Kevin Dean, so having a connection around could benefit him.
The son of former NHL defenseman Mark Tinordi, Tinordi skated with Murphy on Chicago’s second pairing in Wednesday’s season opener against the Colorado Avalanche. As an alternate captain, Murphy’s quietly been one of the Blackhawks’ most effective leaders these past few years despite their shortcomings. Since Tinordi’s been with Chicago for less than a week, it’s smart to pair him with someone like Murphy as it could allow him to grow and possibly find a mentor as he adapts to the Blackhawks’ system.
Knowing his contract, it’s hard to see Tinordi staying with the Blackhawks past this season. It’s also possible any glimmer of success could make him a trade piece, or he could easily be waived again. For now, though, bringing him in is a decent, low-risk move by Chicago general manager (GM) Kyle Davidson.
Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.
Connor Smith covers the Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. He’s based in the Chicago area and is currently pursuing his master’s at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He received his bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in May 2022 and has experience reporting and editing for The Ball State Daily News, the campus’ student newspaper, along with interning for Best Version Media (BVM) Sports. You can learn more about Smith and his work through his online portfolio, connornsmith0719.wordpress.com.