Tinordi gives Habs some size on the blue-line



LOS ANGELES — The Montreal Canadiens added some size — and they hope some toughness — to the organization Friday night with the selection of Jarred Tinordi in the first round of the National Hockey League entry draft.

Tinordi is a six-foot-six, 212- pound defenceman from the United States National Development Program.

The Canadiens were so high on the 18-year-old son of former NHLer Mark Tinordi that they engineered a trade to move up from No. 27 to No. 22 in the first round and gave up their second-round choice as well. They picked up No. 22 and a fourth-round pick (No. 113) from Phoenix and gave up Nos. 27 and 57 overall.

“We had identified some priority players and we felt them slipping away,”said general manager Pierre Gauthier, who said the Canadiens explored several different scenarios before making the deal with the Coyotes.

“He’s a big, strong defenceman who can skate and he has been the captain of his team,” said Gauthier.

The GM said genes played a role in the decision and so did the relationship between Bob Gainey, the Habs’ former general manager, and Mark Tinordi.

“Bob was impressed with his father, who played for him in Minnesota when they went to the Stanley Cup final and they were together later in Dallas,” said Gauthier.

Jarred Tinordi described himself as a stay-at-home defenceman who wants to improve his puck-handling skills.

Mark Tinordi said his son is a more fluid skater than his father, but the key down the line is whether he can match his father’s physical play. The elder Tinordi racked up 1,514 penalty minutes over 12 NHL seasons.

“I try to play the same style as my father,” said Jarred Tinordi. “I like to play physical and, if I have to fight, well . . . ”

The immediate question is how long it will take Tinordi to reach the NHL and which route he’ll take.

Tinordi is committed to playing at the University of Notre Dame next season, but his junior rights belong to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League and they’re expected to make the argument that major junior is the quicker path to the pros.

Jarred Tinordi said he would solicit advice from his family, his advisers and the Canadiens before making a final decision on next season.

Gauthier is on record as saying that either choice can lead to the NHL and said he would leave the decision up to Jarred.

Mark Tinordi, an Alberta native, noted that he went the major junior route but he said he felt that Notre Dame might be a better choice for his son. He said that Jarred is behind some of his peers because he played in relatively weak leagues before joining the national team program.

The younger Tinordi was born in Burnsville, Minn., but grew up outside Washington, where his father finished his career.

Jarred said one of his concerns was to get stronger and he could benefit from the weight programs offered at Notre Dame. He also said that education was important, but that he could see himself making the jump to the NHL in “two or three years.”

While Tinordi has size and genes on his side, he wasn’t highly rated going into the draft. He was ranked 38th among North American skaters in the final Central Scouting rankings.

The draft wraps up with the final six rounds Saturday and the Canadiens will have four picks, all in the later rounds. They pick at No. 113 and No. 117 in the fourth round, No. 147 in the fifth round and No. 207 in the seventh round.

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