GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Coyotes’ decision to sign John Scott this offseason made little sense from a hockey standpoint. It became an outright distraction off the ice when a media-driven campaign led fans to vote the marginally-skilled Scott into the All-Star Game.
Whether you believe it was motivated by the All-Star situation or not, the Coyotes rid themselves of the problem on Friday. Arizona traded defenseman Stefan Elliott to the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Victor Bartley, and then packaged Scott and Bartley in a deal with Montreal for defenseman Jarred Tinordi and forward Stefan Fournier.
“This wasn’t about the All-Star Game,” general manager Don Maloney said. “John was a good soldier for us and did his job well, but we have to run our business. To make the finances of this deal work we had to include John Scott in the deal.”
Tinordi (6-6, 230 pounds) was the Canadiens’ first-round pick in 2010 (22nd overall). Montreal packaged its own pick and a second-round pick to move up five spots to get him. The team that moved down was the Coyotes, who selected center Oscar Lindberg. The Coyotes then traded Lindberg to the New York Rangers for forward Ethan Werek in May of 2011.
Maloney thought he had a deal completed for Tinordi last week but the Canadiens backed away.
“He’s a big, strong, rugged 6-6, 240-pound defenseman that needed a change of scenery,” Maloney said. “Things weren’t going well for him in Montreal but I think we have chance to get him back on track with his development, working with (assistant coach) Jim Playfair.”
Tinordi, 23, has appeared in 46 NHL games, registering six assists. He is another depth addition for an organization that was lacking that element on its blue line. Fournier went undrafted in 2013 and signed an entry-level deal with the Canadiens. He has five goals and seven points in 24 games for the St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL.
While Maloney said Fournier would report to the team’s AHL affiliate in Springfield, Massachusetts, Tinordi will report to the Coyotes, giving them eight defensemen on their roster.
“Everybody wants to play so there will be some management required,” Maloney said. “But we know we have eight guys that can all play in the league. Klas Dahlbeck has played a while for us but he’s still a developing player. I put Tinordi right in that bracket as a guy who is still working to become a regular NHL player.”
As for the All-Star Game impact, Maloney said he expects the NHL to invite another Coyote to attend and he expects it to be a forward.
The league currently restricts each division’s roster to three defensemen. The Kings’ Drew Doughty, the Flames Mark Giordano and the Sharks’ Brent Burns hold those three slots so unless the NHL lifts that restriction to allow Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the game, the selection will likely be forward Max Domi or forward Shane Doan.
As for Scott, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that both the Coyotes and the NHL had previously asked him to bow out of the All-Star Game and he refused. The NHL is currently deciding how to handle his spot now that he has been traded away. One possibility is for Montreal to send him to the AHL, where he would not be eligible to compete in the game. Scott could also bow out on his own.
Devils at Coyotes
Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale
When: Saturday, noon
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: ESPN Phoenix 620 AM
Season series: Devils lead, 1-0
Probable goalies: New Jersey — Cory Schneider. Arizona — Anders Lindback.
Injury report: Devils — F Michael Cammalleri (IR, upper body), F Patrik Elias (IR, knee), F Jacob Josefson (IR, lower body), F Jiri Tlusty (IR, upper body), F Jordin Tootoo (head), F Ryane Clowe (IR, head) and former Coyote D John Moore (lower body) are out. Coyotes — G Mike Smith (abdominal surgery), Joe Vitale (concussion symptoms) are out.
Scouting the Devils: First-year coach John Hynes has made New jersey more competitive than expected, but the Devils have lost five of their past six games and are shorthanded at forward due to injuries and a four-game suspension to Bobby Farnham for his hit against St. Louis’s Dmitrij Jaskin on Tuesday. … Hynes was selected as an assistant for the 2016 United States’ World Cup team. … F Michael Cammalleri leads the team with 35 points 914 goals). … G Corey Schneider is sixth in the NHL with a 2.09 goals against average and tied for ninth in save percentage at .926