Tinordi Leaves Notre-Dame, Will Play for London Knights

Look who's here?

Jarred Tinordi must have had a conversation with Louis Leblanc this past week.

The Canadiens' 1st round pick in this past June's draft will be leaving Notre-Dame of the NCAA to join the OHL team that held his rights, the London Knights.

Tinordi was selected 22nd overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, with the Canadiens even trading to move up in the draft and select him. Add to this the relentlessness of Mark and Dale Hunter in bringing Tinordi to the OHL, and you can tell that there is something special about this young defenseman.

Son of Mark Tinordi, defenseman in the 80s and 90s for the Rangers, Capitals, North Stars and Stars when they moved to Dallas - where he was captain for four seasons - Tinordi's profile speaks for itself:

- 6'6" frame, which would make him one of the tallest players in hockey.
- 205 lbs, which will definitely go up another 20-30 lbs by the time he makes the NHL.
- Captain of the Under 18 national team in the United States.
- Solid defensively, good skater and a tough guy who uses his size.

To call him the next "Mike Komisarek" of the Canadiens' organization (the good parts about Mike Komisarek) may be an understatement. In London, he instantly becomes a star and a major part of a team that will definitely compete in the OHL and CHL this upcoming season. The move also means that Tinordi's development will accelerate, basically guaranteeing that he will turn pro in 2012 when he turns 20.

Under the leadership of General Manager Mark Hunter and notorious former-NHLer Dale Hunter as head coach, on a team that has produced a plethora of NHLers, Tinordi is definitely in good hands.

“He’s the kind of player who will make a huge difference for us,” said Dale Hunter to the Toronto Sun. “He’s big, mobile. He can skate and jump into the play. He’s got great character. “We’re going to encourage him to jump into the play. We needed that last year and we’ll be doing it a lot more this year.”

Hunter was roommates with Jarred's father Mark while they both played in Washington, which only adds to the pros of Tinordi's move North. The connection with Hunter will only benefit his development.

As mentioned above, the move marks the second Habs' first round choice in as many weeks to make the jump from the NCAA to the CHL. Last week, after months of rumors and speculation 2009 1st round draft pick Louis Leblanc left Harvard for the Montreal Junior, where he will be the team's highest profile player, a local boy with drawing ability and talent that will vastly help the Junior establish themselves as a legitimate sports team in the Montreal area. It will also allow Leblanc to re-familiarize himself with the city of Montreal, find out what it's like to play an 80 game hockey schedule, and of course, get used to the pressures of playing in a hockey market such as this city.

Tinordi may not have the exact same experience in London. He will not put up as many points, and it is doubtful he will be as big a centerpiece of the team as Leblanc will be made out to be in Montreal. While he will be a star, it won't near the attention Leblanc will receive in the city - commercials are already being pumped out into Montreal airwaves advertising Leblanc and the Junior. Moreover, the Knights are an established franchise with a fanbase, so he might not be as important to the business aspect of the team. But he will definitely have a major impact on the ice, which is why the Hunters went hard after him to leave Notre-Dame. His development will be just as important to the Knights as using him to win games will be, so Habs fans can rest assured that Tinordi is in good, experienced hands.

Almost as importantly, Habs fans will get much more chances to watch Tinordi play. Not only are OHL broadcasts more accessible than NCAA broadcasts, Tinordi will now be able to participate in any camps the Canadiens put up until he is pro-ready.

Tinordi does, however, leave behind a good CCHA team in the Notre-Dame Fighting Irish, with a good coach in Jeff Jackson. His loss will leave a major dent in the Fighting Irish's line-up. However, with most experts and talking heads predicting Tinordi to be NHL-ready in as soon as two years, this was the right move for both the prospect and the Montreal Canadiens, who see the stock of their prize 1st round selection rise significantly on this August day.

And not to toot my own horn here, but a certain someone predicted that the Canadiens would pick Tinordi before the draft.

But I digress.

While the Montreal Canadiens of 2010-11 may not look like the best Habs' team in their 100+ year history, the future certainly looks bright. With Leblanc, Tinordi, Subban, Dumont, Avtsin and others will on their way, and a good core of players already in Montreal, Habs fans definitely have a future they can be hopeful of.

With the season getting ever-closer, our Off-Season Analysis will continue later this week and in the coming days of August. Until the next installment on the defensemen, read the following two articles on the forwards and post your comments:

- Off-Season Analysis: The Top Six Forwards
- Off-Season Analysis: The Forwards - Best Of The Rest