The Montreal Canadiens have sent Jarred Tinordi down to the Hamilton Bulldogs, and recalled Greg Pateryn from the AHL affiliate. The move makes a lot of sense for the Habs, as it balances out their defense, which should lead to more consistency from the blueliners.
It is not so much that Tinordi can’t handle himself at the NHL level, it is just that Beaulieu’s skills fit much better among the current group of Habs defensemen.
Greg Pateryn will almost certainly become the new team yo-yo that Beaulieu has been since the beginning of the season. Pateryn may see some game action, but is the team’s seventh defenseman.
The way things currently stand, you know P.K. Subban is the number one defenseman, and that Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov belong in the top four. Following them, veteran Francis Bouillon is an asset, but only if used as a bottom pairing defender.
With Beaulieu and Tinordi both knocking on the door for an NHL opportunity, but neither ready to grab a top four spot on the Habs defense, that leaves one of them with Bouillon, and Raphael Diaz bumped into the number four slot.
The pairing of Beaulieu with Bouillon makes plenty of sense as the veteran defensive defenseman, can help the offensively gifted Beaulieu learn the ropes of playing in his own end. This also gives the Habs a puck mover on each pairing, including two gifted offensive defensemen with the Subban-Markov duo.
Also, in games that Tinordi has played this season instead of Beaulieu, the offensively incapable Bouillon has been forced to average more than two minutes of power play ice time per game, even though he hasn’t scored more than 14 points in the past six seasons. When Beaulieu plays, Bouillon has only been on the ice for ten power play seconds total, in three games. Beaulieu will join Diaz, on an impressive second power play unit, that will give the Habs one of the highest scoring group of defensemen in the league.
Tinordi averaged more than two minutes of shorthanded ice time per game with Montreal, and what I am most looking forward to seeing, is Subban taking more responsibilities while down a man. P.K. has been the Canadiens fifth most frequently used defender while Montreal is shorthanded, even though most Habs fans would point out he is a much better option than Markov and Diaz, who are used exhaustively on the penalty kill.
With all due respect to Jarred Tinordi, sending him to the minors in favor of Beaulieu makes the Canadiens a better team immediately. Tinordi’s time with the Canadiens will come. In fact, if it were up to me, Tinordi’s time would come very soon at the expense of Bouillon. However, Beaulieu’s presence makes the power play better, while Tinordi’s absence gives shorthanded minutes to Subban. Any extra minutes that a team can find for the best defenseman in the league, makes that team much more dangerous.
It will not be long before the Canadiens can boast about having both Tinordi and Beaulieu in their top four. However, neither of them are ready for such duties today, and Beaulieu fits much better on the bottom pairing, which means the moves made today make the Montreal Canadiens a better team.