Mar 1, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing David Clarkson (71) is checked into the boards by Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi (24) during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Poll Result: Rounding Out the Montreal Canadiens Top Four Defense Is...

Our vote to predict the Montreal Canadiens opening night lineup is nearly complete, as we just picked who will fill out the top four on defence and have already locked up all twelve forward positions.
We had already picked Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban to be the top pairing, and newly signed Tom Gilbert was tabbed for a second pairing role. The three candidates to join Gilbert on the second pairing were Nathan Beaulieu, Alexei Emelin and Jarred Tinordi, and you voted for the last guy I would have picked to fill the role.
Tinordi was picked with 53 percent of the vote, while Emelin took 33 percent and Beaulieu rounded out the rankings with the other 20 percent.
This gives us a roster that now looks like this:
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Parenteau
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Bourque – Eller – Sekac
Prust – Malhotra – Weise
Markov – Subban
Tinordi – Gilbert
******* – ********
Though I am a bit surprised that Tinordi won this round so dominantly, he makes a god case for an increased role this season. He is a giant defender at 6’6” tall and that is an area where the Canadiens are lacking. He skates well for a big guy, and has the capabilities to move the puck well.
His defensive game has improved dramatically since he was selected in the first round of the 2010 draft. He played 22 games last season with the Habs, and showed he is ready to become a full time NHLer.
A similar case could be made for Emelin, who has been a top four defender for the Canadiens for the past three seasons, or Beaulieu who stepped in and looked good during the postseason.
My guess is we see Emelin start the season in the top four with Gilbert, but with a strong training camp, Tinordi could steal some ice time away from a veteran this season.

Tags: Alexei Emelin Jarred Tinordi Montreal Canadiens Nathan Beaulieu

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