Knights land Canadiens prospect


, Last Updated: 11:49 PM ET

The London Knights got their man.

And at 6-foot-6, 212 pounds, make no mistake about it, Jarred Tinordi is a man.

The Knights have pursued the 18-year-old defenceman relentlessly since they made him a draft choice two years ago. Tinordi, a first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in Junes NHL draft, was the captain of the United States under-18 team.

He committed to play for the University of Notre Dame Irish and had signed up for summer classes.

But it isnt the first time Knights owners Mark and Dale Hunter have gone after players who had already committed to U.S. schools.

Tuesday, the Knights got the news theyve hungered to hear as Tinordi told them he was coming north. An official announcement is expected in the next few days.

Tinordi has not yet signed with the Knights but has verbally committed to the team. He has reportedly already told Notre Dame offfials hes opted to play in the OHL.

Hes the kind of player who will make a huge difference for us, Knights head coach Dale Hunter said. Hes big, mobile. He can skate and jump into the play. Hes got great character.

Hunter knows Tinordis dad Mark. They played together for 4 1/2 years with the NHLs Washington Capitals.

We drove everywhere together. I know the kid and hes just a character kid, Hunter said.

The addition of Tinordi is key for the Knights. Along with Troy Donnay, Scott Harrington, Tommy Hughes, Mike DOrazio and Reid McNeill, the Knights have great size. Harrington and Jake Worrad can handle the puck and can motor.

Now the Knights can add Tinordi to that list of the offensively gifted.

Offence from the defence is something the Knights missed last year, especially when Michael Del Zotto didnt return from the New York Rangers.

The most successful Knights teams have been able to produce points from the blue-line. When we were most successful we had a defence that was mobile and could skate, Hunter said. Guys like (Danny) Syvret who could jump into the play. Tinordi can do that. Hes big and mobile but he does more than that. Hes really tough as well.

Hunter intends to use the offensive skill some of his blue-liners bring, especially Tinordi. Imagine former Knights defenceman John Carlson, only add size and toughness.

Were going to encourage him to jump into the play, he said. We needed that last year and well be doing it a lot more this year.

Theres no questioning the importance of getting Tinordi.

We need him, Hunter said.

The feeling all along has been that getting Tinordi will immediately vault the Knights defence into one of the best in the OHL.

What may have helped the Knights secure Tinordi was the fact he was picked in the first round by an NHL team.

Under NCAA rules, a player cannot attend NHL training camp until he is signed and leaves college. Some NHL teams want their drafted players to have the kind of heavy schedule junior hockey provides. Junior players can also attend NHL camps.