2020-21 Team: University of Vermont
Date of Birth: March 3, 2003
Place of Birth: Pointe-Claire, QC, CAN
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 185 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 84th (amongst NA skaters)
Looking at Dovar Tinling’s offensive numbers at face value could leave you scratching your head. He had a successful 2019-20 season in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) – he was 26th in the league with 21 goals and 51 points in 50 games. However, a goal and an assist in 12 games for the University of Vermont (UVM) Catamounts in 2020-21 is a tough look, especially considering he was named the 2019-20 CCHL Rookie of the Year.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
When you add a bit of context, the picture changes. Tinling was the youngest player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) last season, playing all but one game as a 17-year-old. In addition, he played on a team that struggled immensely.
The Catamounts are a rebuilding program with a first-year head coach. They had a 1-10-2 record and only scored 20 goals while giving up 42 in their 13 games. He was only penalized twice, and it came in the same game, so 12 penalty-free games is a good sign.
Another positive sign was his play for his country. He represented Canada in the 2019-20 U19 World Junior A Challenge, scoring a goal and an assist in four games for Canada East, and played in the 2019-20 U17 World Hockey Challenge for Canada Red, scoring two goals and three points in five games.
If his play in the CCHL and his five points in nine games for Canada are any indication, his rookie year was a product of a struggling team and an outlier in the overall scheme of his career to this point.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Dovar Tinling – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
Tinling’s draft projection isn’t the most clear-cut. He was listed with a B-rating on NHL Central Scouting’s 2020-21 Preliminary Players To Watch List. Having a B-rating indicates that the player is projected to be selected in the second or third round. Being ranked 84th amongst North American skaters in the final listings is definitely in part due to an underwhelming first collegiate season, but how much of that is really his fault? One player can only have so much impact on a struggling team. However, one thing he can control is how much he shoots, and he’s not shooting enough. Only putting 13 shots on goal in 12 games isn’t going to get him very far.
Risk – 2.5/5, Reward – 4/5
If scouts look at Tinling through the context of his first collegiate season and not just by the numbers, his potential should lead him to be drafted as early as the third round. If he plays his last three years of college, and UVM drastically improves, he could become a face of the Catamounts. If he really hits his potential in stride, he could be one of the top players in the NCAA by his senior year, if he doesn’t turn pro earlier.
- Hockey sense
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to shoot more
- Physical strength
- Off-puck play
- Defensive awareness
If this past season was just an anomaly, Tinling should be in good shape. He’s been compared to Toronto Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman, and it’s a favorable comparison. Hyman was drafted in the fifth round in 2010.
Despite having been two years older than Tinling in his first collegiate season, Hyman struggled. He struggled in his first three years after dominating the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), only scoring 13 goals and 35 points in 114 games for the University of Michigan. However, he exploded in his senior year scoring 22 goals and 54 points in 37 games.
If Tinling can emulate Hyman’s senior year production, especially at a younger age, then he could be a nice fit to the middle-six of a lineup. Being able to play down the middle and on the wing helps his chances. He may not get the same amount of ice time as Hyman, who has worked his way up to first-line minutes, but can still turn himself into a mid-six playmaking winger. He may even be sneakily dangerous on the power play.
If he has a strong end to his collegiate career, he may not require as much time in the minors as other players in his position. If he can become a leader on the rebuilding Catamounts early on, it can really help advance his development. However, he’s young. He still has a lot of time to develop into what could be a third-round steal.
Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.