Life without both Jeremy Lauzon and Kevan Miller is off a rocky start for the Bruins.
After allowing seven goals (five of which came in a brutal third-period collapse) on Long Island in a Thursday night clunker, the Bruins’ bounce-back attempt the next night came with six goals put by Tuukka Rask, and with the B’s defense looking straight-up helpless at times, in a four-goal loss.
That was all the Bruins needed to see to officially make the call for some external help, as the team claimed then-Predators defenseman Jarred Tinordi off waivers on Saturday morning.
“I think our depth has been challenged in terms of size; Lauzon, Miller bring a lot of that element,” Cassidy said after Saturday’s practice. “With them being out — we don’t know on Miller [and] with Jeremy, it’s going to be four weeks minimum from his date of injury — this gives us a different look back there. A little more stout and stiffness. So it’s just a different element of a make up of a backend.”
A 6-foot-6 defender, Tinordi will certainly address some of the Bruins’ size issues, as he immediately becomes the tallest B’s defenseman, standing one inch taller than Brandon Carlo. (A left shot defenseman, Tinordi towers over the B’s other left-side options, with the 6-foot-2 John Moore standing as the tallest left shot d-man on the team prior to the Tinordi claim.)
It’s also been highlighted as a need for the Bruins, too, with fill-in Urho Vaakanainen bodied off the puck for goals against in back-to-back games, and with the schedule hardly getting easier on that front with another meeting with the Rangers and a two-game set with the Capitals on deck.
In action for seven games this season, Tinordi’s racked up 12 hits and 11 blocked shots to go with eight shots on goal. He’s also coming off a year of career-highs in 2019-20, too, with career-high marks in assists (four), points (five), hits (71), blocks (36), time on ice per game (16:37), and games played (28).
The Bruins aren’t ready to project where Tinordi fits in just yet. He’s unavailable to jump right into the mix due to COVID protocols, and the Bruins are still waiting to see what happens on the health front. (They’ve already ruled Matt Grzelcyk out for Sunday’s meeting with the Rangers.)
But this is a move that’s come with the B’s realizing they couldn’t continue to ask their curren options to be something they’re not if they’re to avoid finding themselves on the wrong end of blowouts.
“He’s a bigger guy, stay-at-home guy,” Cassidy said. “The numbers offensively are obviously tilted more towards a stay-at-home guy. So there’s a big body that could complement [Charlie] McAvoy if that’s the way we go against top lines. Lauzon did that job, [Zdeno Chara] did that job, and obviously those three guys are not exactly the same. But they’re bigger bodies that can be shutdown guys. So I’m not saying he’s going to go on the first pair, because we haven’t seen them yet, but he is that type of defender who could find a lot of usage in our backend right now because we lack that.
“Now, obviously, if we were more efficient back there, rock solid, then I don’t know if you [claim Tinordi], right? But at the end of the day, it is a different element. To ask some guys who will play like the Lauzons and the Millers that aren’t naturally that way is a little more difficult. Do they have to be tougher in front of their net or harder? Yes, they need to be cleaner with the puck, yes. And I think that that’s what they have to focus on, not being something they’re not.”