Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Re-visiting Jarred Tinordi's situation, with training camp in full swing.

In response to something I'm seeing on social media, I'll repeat that it's kind of unfair for us as a fanbase to tell Jarred Tinordi to stop playing with that physical edge and just focus on hockey, when he was sent down to the AHL two seasons ago with marching orders to play with more physicality, to hit more and impose himself when the going got tough.

I accept the general consensus that Jarred is confused or invisible these pre-season scrimmages, but I'll take that in stride, as the symptoms of a kid still learning to put his game together.  We always parrot to each other that we need to be patient with youngsters, that it takes longer for defencemen, well now is the time to put this patience in action.  Let's allow Jarred to play games under more real conditions, when he can actually hit people and contribute that way, instead of no-contact scrimmages.  Let's give him the time to develop, like Jamie Oleksiak is taking, like Erik Gudbranson is taking, like Hal Gill took.

And I'll repeat that there really isn't any imminent risk, or any urgency to 'do something', to prepare for the fact that we may lose Jarred Tinordi to waivers.  That would only happen if we exposed him to waivers, which won't happen, since we don't need to.  It's like if there are three staircases to get to the ground floor, and one of them is closed for construction, and we'd fret endlessly about what could befall us if we went that way, what risks we'll have to face.  That staircase is clearly marked and signed and closed off, we won't go that way, we'll use the other two staircases, so really there's no reason to worry.

The Habs' 23-man roster will allow the Canadiens to carry Jarred as the 7th or even 8th defenceman, where he'll keep working on his skills and his game, and he'll be babied and spoonfed minutes and games and get into gear.  The unfortunate recurrence of concussion symptoms to Michaël Bournival relieves even more pressure on the 23-man roster, as any decision in his case will have to wait until he's ready to compete, which I have to believe will take months, not just a couple of weeks.  So Michaël will be on the injured list and in limbo for the opening of the season, like Davis Drewiskie for a few months was a couple seasons back.

The concern over Mark Barberio is also misplaced, I believe.  While he may be a talented player and one we'd like to retain and develop, that won't take precedence over Jarred.  Let's remember that the Lightning chose not to make him a qualifying offer this spring, but rather let him walk as a free agent, as we did with Yannick Weber and Frédéric St-Denis and Ryan White recently.  Further, he didn't receive a one-way contract offer, but a few two-way deals.  The Canadiens goosed up the AHL salary portion to make the two-way offer palatable, but in my mind is also an indication that they realistically see him with the IceCaps as a trusty veteran and callup insurance.

If anyone is getting sent down and exposed to waivers, it's Mr. Barberio, a player we have little investment in, we obtained for free, and is eminently replaceable by many, many other defencemen who are fleet of foot, offensively-inclined, and haven't managed to crack an NHL roster yet.  His market value, the demand for his services, is indicated by Tampa allowing him to walk, and by the relative lack of concrete offers he received this summer.

John Blum is a defenceman who had great success in junior, is a wiz with the puck, but hasn't managed to stick with the Minnesota Wild yet.  Canucks fans, remembering his star turn as a Vancouver Giant, often call for him to be acquired, but the retort is usually that they already have similar players like Yannick Weber and John Clendenning and others who themselves can't crack the lineup.  The NHL has a lot of prospects and players who fit that bill, a heady puck-mover who's a little undersized and needs a break or three to have a career.  Mark Barberio is one of these types of players.

6'6" defencemen who were picked in the first round with Jarred's pedigree don't come available very often though.  You'd do well to retain a prospect like him, and choose to risk losing a more replaceable asset like Mark Barberio.  In an ideal world, we'd keep both and roll sevens on both cases.  Practically, we can hope that Mark sneaks down to St. John's and goes unclaimed, other teams having their own roster and waivers headaches to deal with, and has a strong start to the season and gets called up if/when needed.

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