Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tinordi And The Habs Prospects

Today, Habs Eyes On The Prize has published their profile for #10 player under the age of 25 in the entire Habs organization: Jarred Tinordi.

I was part of the voting for these top 25 players and I promised you all that I would have comments on the picks when the time was right. Well the time is right. I think Jarred Tinordi at #10 says a lot about this team, its future and the fans who follow its story.

First of all, you should know that I did vote for Jarred Tinordi in this poll. I placed him at #22 on my overall list of players under the age of 25.

Tinordi in my estimation was drafted for one main reason: size. Luckily for us Habs fans he is not just big, he is very big. In fact, he's so big (6'7"). But the rest of the scouting report of Jarred Tinordi is not made to turn heads. He skates well (always written for a big player), he has an excellent shot from the point (but it must be noted he actually scores few goals with it) is mean (but by most reports not that mean).

Based on numerous firsthand reports of acquaintances and OHL fans, I gather he had an enormous amount of trouble adapting to the OHL. Even the most generous reports said only that he fit in and just didn't set himself apart from the garden variety OHL Dman. At the end of the day, he had a rough first season in the OHL. Yes, he was a rookie in that league. But at 18/19 through this season he was not one of the younger players. Legitimate excuses for his performance can be found, but I wonder if we're starting that 2 leagues below the NHL what to expect in a few years.

Tinordi at #10 is an indictment of the Canadiens talent pool

One of the problems I have with Tinordi is that I find his profiles and projections speak to me. I find little I can disagree with based on what I have seen heard and read about the player in the assessments that result. The sum up at the end of his profile on EOTP says it all in this regard:
If his development goes well I would expect Tinordi to become a good 3rd pairing defenseman that his used heavily in his own end and on the penalty kill, with the outside chance he might turn out to be a decent 2nd pairing shutdown player.
I wholeheartedly agree. I to am optimistic that Tinordi will one day play in the NHL. But, I share the notion that his ceiling will be a complementary role on any future team.

Does this light any fires? Potential future defensive defenceman?

(Oh good, those summers we won't have to sign Jeff Woywitka or Paul Mara.)

To me, this assessment which essentially spells potential #4-6 defenceman is not heartening at the #10 position among all players under 25. To me, this is a massive indictment of the rest of the plaers that come after him.

Good scoring hands? So what, he'll definitely be less valuable than a future Hal Gill. Impressive season in the WHL? Whatever,there's no way he'll fare better than someone who struggled in the OHL. 5'9" with speed? I'd trade all the skill and speed for 9 inches.


Luckily Habs fans, I don't think the Habs pool of players is awful, I just think that in this case Tinordi's value has been vastly overrated. Moreover, I think the value of having a very big guy as your 5th most frequently used defender has been overrated.

Take for example some of the players I ranked ahead of him that eventually received a lower consensus number than him: Michael Bournival, Brendan Gallagher, Alexander Avtsin, Brock Trotter and Magnus Nygren.

Bournival just put up his second point per game season in a row in the QMJHL as the Captain of the Shawinigan Cataractes. He was a late cut from the Canadian Junior Team (not an early cut from the American Junior team) and scored plenty of goals. Bournival certainly is a guaranteed first line player, but hope is not lost that he could score in the NHL.

Gallagher just scored 40+ goals for the second straight season in a WHL where 28 goals is now sometimes touted as future power forward. If he was over 6' tall he would be in the top 3 Habs prospects. With a chance taken on him, there's plenty of precedent to see NHL goals in his future too.

Avtsin just played his first season in Hamilton after his stint in the KHL. Again questions exist, but the tools are plain to see. Skating, shooting, puck control and many other of the unteachables. A bit of investment in time and teaching into a player like this would turn him into better than a 5th defenceman in my honest opinion.

Trotter was 6th in AHL scoring 2 seasons ago and did a pretty bang up job in the KHL this past season. He's an injury away from the NHL this season. Used correctly nothing in his past suggests he'll be a hanger-on.

Nygren is my favourite. He just ended a season as one of the best up and coming defencemen in the top Swedish league. Playing with men, he availed himself well and wrested the PP QB role from established members of the organization at age 20. Skating and Swedish acumen alone suggest he would have chance, and a chance with upside.

These are just four for me, but four that I would be comfortable placing higher ceilings on than Jarred Tinordi. Sure they all face uncertainty about NHL career at all, but then I wouldn't mind if I'd never had to watch Andy Sutton.

In my estimation, the Habs have drafted fairly well and filled in the gaps pretty adeptly with players like Raphael Diaz, Brock Trotter, Peter Delmas and Alain Berger.

In my estimation the team has one of the brighter crops of players under the age of 25 in the league.

Tinordi, apart from in size, bloodlines and picks invested does not stack up to these 5 and the other 7 guys I ranked a head of him.

I don't see this a s a bad thing, but rather something very bright. For if I shared the opinion that our tenth best young player could one day, if things go well, be put out to defend the future Chris Kellys of the league then I'm pretty certain I'd be looking into future winter pastimes to take up in 5 years time.

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