On July 1, 2017, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced they had made a handful of deals, which included the signing of Burnsville, Minnesota native Jarred Tinordi.
Near the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford stated a couple of his primary objectives this offseason would be to add toughness to the lineup and shore up the defense. Rutherford did not waste any time, making moves to replenish the roster and address some key areas that he felt were liabilities as the team gets ready to defend its title.
Tinordi certainly meets two of the Penguins most pressing needs: he is a defenceman and at 6 feet 6 inches and weighing 238 lbs, he certainly adds a degree of toughness to the lineup. Tinordi also has ties to Pittsburgh, as he captained the 2010 OHL Champion London Knights, a roster that featured defender Olli Maatta and fellow free agent signing Greg McKegg. Tinordi was also part of the U.S National Development Team, capturing a gold medal in 2010 at the IIHF U18 World Championship, and he was named to the CHL All-Star team in 2012.
Canadiens Trade Up
Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier targeted Tinordi at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, completing a deal with the Vancouver Canucks to move five spots up in the draft from 27 to 22 to ensure they secured the son of NHL Alumnus Mark Tinordi. Two key aspects that the Canadiens desired were Tinordi’s size and his shot.
After spending the majority of the 2012-13 season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Tinordi made his NHL debut with Montreal on March 16, 2013, versus the New Jersey Devils. He earned his first career point when his shot was deflected by Tomas Plekanec past goaltender Johan Hedberg. He would appear in seven more regular season games averaging 11:43 TOI with 14 hits and a plus-5 rating. He also appeared in five playoff games, contributing an assist.
Over the course of the next few seasons, Tinordi would see limited action with the Canadiens, appearing in 38 games from 2013-15. The 2015 season saw Tinordi battle through a terrifying head injury and season-ending wrist surgery.
With the accelerated development of Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn on the blue line, and injury issues plaguing Tinordi, he began to see his stock lower with the organization. The Canadiens grew impatient waiting for Tinordi to develop into the NHL player they projected him to be. His play making ability and possession numbers were great. But injuries and strong competition hampered his ability to stay with Montreal long term.
With the hockey world enamored with the John Scott saga during the 2015-16 season, Tinordi’s time in Montreal had officially drawn to an end. On Jan. 15, 2016, Montreal GM Marc Bergevin executed a trade with the Arizona Coyotes that sent Tinordi and Stefan Fournier to the desert in exchange for Victor Bartley and John Scott.
At the time the Canadiens were struggling in the standings and used the deal as a way to dump Tinordi’s $850,000 salary, freeing up space to make a larger splash in the market.
Buried in the Desert
Tinordi made his Coyotes debut on Jan. 23, 2016 versus the Los Angeles Kings, and appeared in six more games that season while being a healthy scratch for several others. He earned 12 PIM, 17 hits and blocked seven shots before receiving a 20-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The violation occurred while he was still a member of the Canadiens organization. Both Montreal and Arizona denied having prior knowledge of the infraction before making the trade.
The suspension did not sour the Coyotes on Tinordi, as they re-signed him on July 1, 2016, to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000. Tinordi would spend the entire 2016-17 season with the Tuscon Coyotes, where he appeared in 64 games, scoring one goal, 10 assists, and 102 PIM.
Fresh Start With the Penguins
It is apparent that Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is loading up on defensive depth with NHL experience to insulate the Penguins’ defense corps. Tinordi will begin the season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. However, with the Penguins still hunting for a third-line center and a surplus of defensemen in the pipeline, a deal could influence who the top six defenders are come opening night.
If the previous few seasons serve as a template for the upcoming campaign, then Tinordi will see some action with the big club. His cap hit is favorable and will provide the Penguins with some flexibility should the need arise to make some moves if any of the top six defenders go down with a long-term injury. Tinordi will thrive in the system the Penguins deploy and will benefit greatly from the tutelage of assistant coach Sergei Gonchar.