Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jarred Tinordi will miss the remainder of the 2015-16 season after being handed a 20-game suspension for violating the NHL’s performance enhancing substances program.
The NHL announced Tinordi’s suspension Wednesday afternoon, adding that the 24-year-old’s suspension will be “accompanied by mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.” He will also forfeit his for the duration of the ban.
“I am extremely disappointed that I failed a test under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program,” Tinordi said in a statement. “I did not knowingly take a banned substance. I understand, however, that I am responsible for what enters my body as a professional athlete and I accept the suspension. I will work hard towards my return to the ice and will learn from this frustrating setback.”
Coyotes GM Don Maloney said the team learned of Tinordi’s impending suspension Tuesday afternoon. Maloney added that the Coyotes support the league’s decision to suspend Tinordi, saying the Coyotes will support the young blueliner “throughout this process.”
Tinordi is the second player to be hit with a 20-game suspension for violating the performance enhancing substances policy this season. In late-January, Anaheim Ducks veteran winger Shawn Horcoff was given an identical 20-game suspension for violating the terms of the policy, a ban Horcoff said was caused by a treatment he received to recover from a wrist injury. Tinordi has not yet revealed what he believes caused his suspension.
Tinordi has had an incredibly trying campaign, only playing in 10 games this season. A first-round, 22nd overall pick by the Montreal Canadiens in 2010, Tinordi struggled to crack the big league roster during his first four seasons with the Canadiens, but never has he been less active than in 2015-16.
Because Tinordi is no longer waiver exempt, the Canadiens would not demote him to the AHL because he would have to clear waivers, meaning Montreal was at risk of losing him for nothing. That resulted in Tinordi remaining a healthy scratch until late-November, at which point he was sent to the AHL on a 10-day conditioning stint. However, once back in Montreal, he didn’t play a single game until Dec. 21. By Jan. 14, the Canadiens had finally found a trade partner for Tinordi, shipping he and Stefan Fournier to the Arizona Coyotes for John Scott and Victor Bartley.
Since the trade, however, Tinordi has played only seven games for the Coyotes while watching another 14 as a healthy scratch. When in the lineup, he has bounced up and down the depth chart with his ice times ranging from 19 to 11 minutes during his stint in Arizona. He hasn’t found the score sheet for the Coyotes.
The 20-game suspension could impact Tinordi’s career beyond this season, however, as he doesn’t have a contract for 2016-17. He’s set to become a restricted free agent, which means the Coyotes could tender him a qualifying offer, but Arizona could choose to simply let the defender walk when free agency begins. Any team signing Tinordi will have to be prepared to be without him for the first four games of next season, too. The Coyotes only have 16 games remaining, which will result in four games of Tinordi’s ban carrying over to next season.