Jarred Tinordi may have had just 2 points in seven games for the U.S. at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship, but the defenseman and team captain was indispensible to the team repeating as gold medalists.
"Jarred's been the key to our overall team getting better with his great leadership qualities," goaltender Jack Campbell told NHL.com prior to the gold-medal game. "Jarred's obviously an elite defender, but our whole defensive unit has really risen to the occasion of playing in a world championship and have gotten better on a day-to-day basis. The way he carries himself in the locker room has really given our team a spark throughout the tournament and has made us even hungrier to win a gold medal."
Tinordi has provided that spark all season long as the captain of the U.S. National Team Developmental Program's under-18 team. In 56 games, the 6-foot-6, 205-pound defender had 5 goals, 13 points and 95 penalty minutes, the second-most on the team. And at the U-18 tournament, he was a plus-8 and wasn't on the ice for a goal-against in the tournament.
NHL Central Scouting ranked him No. 38 on its final list of North American skaters for the 2010 Entry Draft, June 25-26 in Los Angeles. He also was invited to the NHL Scouting Combine next month.
"For Jarred to be at his best, he just needs to be steady Eddie," Kurt Kleinendorst, the USNTDP U-18 team coach who also led the U.S. at the World U-18 tournament, told NHL.com. "He's very intelligent, keeps himself in good position and is capable of making the first pass. And that should and probably always will be the foundation of what will bring out the most in his game."
"Right now I feel like I'm moving the puck well up to the forwards," Tinordi told NHL.com. "I'm playing a simple game which is helping us. I've been physical, especially in front of the net and in the corners."
The physical side of the game runs in the family. Mark Tinordi, Jarred's father, totaled 1,514 penalty minutes in 12 NHL seasons as a defenseman with the Rangers, North Stars, Stars and Capitals from 1987-99.
Jarred is a bit bigger than his father, who played at 6-foot-4 and 213 pounds.
"I haven't heard that yet," Jarred said of comparisons. "But hockey was a lot different for him when he was playing. He had to fight quite a bit. But no, haven't really heard that yet."
Other players, though, have heard of Mark Tinordi, and wanted to see how far the apple fell from the tree.
"I was impressed with his discipline because being as big as he is, his dad had a reputation, so right away everyone wanted to challenge him," Barzee said. "That's probably why being the captain of that team, showing that he could show leadership and control himself was a plus."
Kleinendorst, in his first season with the USNTDP, also was impressed with how his young captain comported himself.
"He had been captain when I got here," Kleinendorst said. "I didn’t question it. I heard good things about Jarred and his character. And I can tell you that I haven't been in a position to question that he is the right guy to be our captain since Day 1. For an 18-year-old kid to carry himself like he does and step up and lead us as a team like we need him to, he really impresses me."
While Tinordi didn't go around looking for trouble, he certainly knew what to do if problems arose.
"I've seen him where some players on his team were being taken advantage of and he did step out of the box and said that's enough," Barzee said. "And everybody on the other team wasn't too sure what to do with it. It was like, 'What did we do? We woke the sleeping giant.'"
Jarred said the input he's gotten form his father haven't been anything too specific.
"He's helped me with the basics," he said. "The biggest things he told me were to keep it simple and jumping up into the play is important for a defenseman. He's let me figure a lot out on my own along the way, but has given me some pointers, too."
Offense hasn't been a big part of Tinordi's game yet, but Barzee believes the tools are there for him to contribute that way.
"The head's there, the hands are there, the shot's there, the skating ability is there," Barzee said. "He's got a real, real cannon for a shot."
Barzee also compared Tinordi to a young Chris Pronger in build and development at this point.
"I think that he's definitely material to be a top-three defenseman in the National Hockey League," Barzee said. "If he's not going to be in your top-four in the NHL, I'd be surprised."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org