GLENDALE – Defenseman Jarred Tinordi sees the Coyotes as an NHL team on the rise and is pleased to be joining them at a critical time in the season.
“The group in here is awesome,” Tinordi told reporters inside Arizona’s dressing room after Saturday’s matinee at Gila River Arena. “They have a young team, and I talked to Don (Maloney) and he has good plans. He wants the team to grow together. I’m definitely excited.”
Maloney, Arizona’s general manager, made a trade with the Montreal Canadiens for Tinordi on Friday, and then told the 23-year-old American to report to Glendale despite already having seven defensemen on the roster. The Coyotes want Tinordi, who stands 6-feet-6 and 230 pounds, to start working with Associate Coach Jim Playfair - who handles the blue liners - as soon as possible.
“He’s a big guy that moves well that we hope can get his game back on track,” Maloney said. “This is not a finished product by any means. He’s a big, developing player, and it’s up to us to bring him along.”
The Coyotes interviewed Tinordi before the 2010 NHL Draft and seriously considered taking him but did not. In fact, they sent the 22nd overall selection to the Canadiens as part of a trade package, and Montreal used the pick on Tinordi.
The Canadiens played Tinordi in just 46 games from 2012-16, including only three this season.
“Things weren’t really going well for me this year,” Tinordi said. “You look at the lineup and that’s a deep team in Montreal, and a deep defense. They couldn’t get me in. I think a change was needed.”
The Coyotes welcome Tinordi with open arms.
“Right now we look at our blue line, and we have good depth there,” Maloney said. “We don’t have to worry about all of a sudden we have one or two injuries and how do we keep our heads above water.”
Tinordi has notched six assists in 46 NHL games and his plus/minus rating is minus-5. He has taken 20 shots on goal but has not scored a goal.
“I just want to play a steady defensive game,” Tinordi said. “I want to be a presence on the ice, and the thing for me is to play a simple, shutdown game. I think I’m at my best when I’m playing physical and good on the PK and moving the puck quick. So that’s what I’ll try to bring to the team.”
Tinordi's dad, Mark Tinordi, also was an NHL defenseman who played 663 games for four teams from 1987-1999. Tinordi wore sweater No. 24 with Montreal as a tribute to his dad, but he will wear sweater No. 28 with the Coyotes because forward Kyle Chipchura wears No. 24.
Tinordi was the captain of the U.S. National Team Development Program for the 2009-10 season. He notched one goal and one assist and was plus-eight in seven games to lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2010 IIHF Under-18 World Championships.
He crossed paths with Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy during their days with USA Hockey, and he was a teammate of forward Max Domi with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in 2011-12.
Tinordi hasn’t played a game since Dec. 26 and the Coyotes did not practice on Sunday, but he says he’s ready to go when needed.
“If they tell me to jump in and play on Monday (vs. Buffalo), I’m going to jump at the opportunity,” Tinordi said.