Blackhawks give Jarred Tinordi contract extension, rewarding him for workmanlike season

Tinordi carved out a steady niche on the Hawks this season after a decade of bouncing around the NHL and AHL. The veteran defenseman will return next season on a new one-year deal with a $1.25 million salary-cap hit.

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Jarred Tinordi ignores Tom Wilson.

Jarred Tinordi has helped lead — and defend — the Blackhawks against all pests this season.

Nick Wass/AP

PITTSBURGH — Jarred Tinordi has found his niche on the Blackhawks after a decade of bouncing around North America.

The Hawks signed Tinordi on Tuesday to a one-year contract extension with a $1.25 million salary-cap hit, per a source, rewarding the defenseman for a workmanlike season in which he battled through multiple ailments to establish himself.

“I’m part of something they’re building here,” Tinordi said. “As a player, that’s all you really want: to have a role on a team and be respected for what you do, on and off the ice. I felt that this year. It just makes me play harder for the team.”

The 31-year-old veteran joined the Hawks as an opening-week waiver claim from the Rangers. At that point, he had logged 109 NHL games over parts of eight seasons with five teams, plus another 429 AHL games over parts of nine seasons with six teams. He was the definition of a journeyman.

By March, though, Tinordi was wearing an “A,” filling in for Connor Murphy as an alternate captain — exemplifying how quickly he had become a trusted leader in the Hawks’ locker room.

He’ll finish having played in 44 games (setting, by far, his NHL single-season career high) while recording two goals, six assists, 139 hits and 68 blocked shots.

“I really wanted to dial in my consistency, and that’s something — for the most part this season — [at which] I’ve been really good,” he said. “You don’t want your bad games to be ‘D’ games. You want to keep your bad games at a ‘B’ and your good games at an ‘A.’ [I’m] just working through that.”

Tinordi also was officially credited with four fights, but when you include all the scrums, skirmishes and exchanges of words while standing up for teammates this season, that number feels extremely low.

At 6-6, 229 pounds with a reconstructed jaw and scruffy beard, he has looked the part as the Hawks’ de facto lead enforcer. Coach Luke Richardson put it best: “If you owned a bar, you would hire him as your bouncer.”

If not for an unfortunate series of injuries, Tinordi likely would be nearing 80 appearances this season. When healthy, Richardson has relied upon him as a second-pairing staple.

Nonetheless, Tinordi missed five games (Nov. 27 to Dec. 6) with a hip injury, 20 games (Dec. 18 to Feb. 11) with a broken jaw and six games (Feb. 14-25) with a knee sprain, and he will end up sitting out seven of the Hawks’ last nine games after reaggravating his hip. He didn’t play Tuesday and won’t play in Thursday’s season finale.

Other players probably would’ve missed even more time, but Tinordi has tolerated plenty of pain.

“I definitely haven’t gone through something like this — this many injuries — in a year in my career,” he said. “Which is unfortunate because I was playing well. That was in my head a little bit: I wanted to give a little extra to show what I could do and help the guys win. But at a certain point, something happens and you can’t do that anymore.”

Hawks doctors haven’t decided yet if he’ll need surgery to clean up his hip this summer, but Tinordi is confident he — one way or another — will be able to get back to full health by next season.

And now, he can enter the summer without any stress about where he’ll be next season.

These contract talks actually began before the March 3 trade deadline, but Tinordi was relieved to discover that mutual interest remained even “once things settled down.” Chicago, after all, already feels like home.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be back for another year to help this team grow,” he said.

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