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A Deal That The Ottawa Senators Shane Pinto Signs to Work for Both Sides

When the smoke clears from the Ottawa Senators sale, one priority will be which contract Shane Pinto signs. There are other Restricted Free Agents (RFA) as well, including Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Gambrell, Erik Brännström, and Julien Gauthier. As of now, Pinto and the others are without a contract for 2023-24. Pinto falls into a group called 10.2 (c), which is less seniority and privilege than typical RFAs. Moreover, he was able to give himself as much leverage as possible after a respectable 2022-23 campaign.

How Will Shane Pinto and the Senators Find the Contract he Signs

Shane Pinto enters contract negotiations with Group 10.2 (c) status. Essentially, he has less bargaining power as a player with standard Group 2 RFA status. The reason he does not have full RFA status is his lack of NHL experience. Since he signed his first Standard Player Contract (SPC) at age 20, he needs more experience. When you sign your first SPC at 21 or younger, you require three years of professional experience. Pinto had 12, five, and 82 games, respectively in his first three NHL seasons. He missed the criteria by five games in 2021-22, as a professional hockey season is defined as one playing ten games. Also, you may remember Pinto missed the majority of the season after sustaining a shoulder injury in October 2021.

Shane Pinto Statistical Prowess

For Pinto, statistically, he did a great job in 2022-23 in making the most of his opportunity. After top-six centre, Josh Norris sustained an injury early in the campaign, it bumped Pinto up the lineup. With Norris in the lineup in October, Pinto tallied six goals and took home Rookie of the Month honours. However, when Norris was injured, Pinto took over the top-six role. Of course, a top-six role is no easy task for a rookie NHL player. Furthermore, it is made more difficult for players who rely on their two-way game.

Finding a Fit on the Second Line

Pinto ended the 2022-23 season with admirable numbers for an NHL rookie. He tallied 20 goals, and 15 assists for 35 points, in a full slate of 82 games. Also, he played 15:59 TOI and won a very respectable 52.1 % of 862 faceoffs. More impressively, these statistics were achieved all the while playing primarily top-six role. Pinto’s line flanked by Alex DeBrincat and Drake Batherson had a 52.9% xGOALs%. Among the three Sens line combinations playing more than 300 minutes, only those with a Tkachuk-Stützle portion had better. In addition, the Pinto line combination did show cadence and durability, playing 476.9 minutes together. Very good for a line overall, however, they were probably subjected to bad luck as well. Their shooting percentages were: DeBrincat (10.3), Batherson (8.8), and Pinto (12.7). Perhaps they missed a pure playmaker on the line configuration.

The Dollars Will Make Sens Fans Happy

When it comes down to how much the Senators Shane Pinto signs for, it seems like it will be difficult for him to negotiate. The fact that he is a Group 10.2 (c), gives him little to no leverage. To that point, once Ottawa issues a qualifying offer, he is only eligible to sign with them. Therefore, the Senators have all the leverage, and will likely give him more like ELC-type value. However, neither side wants the low value to be long-term, since upon it expiring, Pinto would be a UFA. So, look for it to be a year or two, so he retains RFA status upon it expiring. Thus, it will most probably fall somewhere between 1 to 1.5 Million AAV, with some incentives. Ottawa wants to keep Pinto happy if he does grow his stock upon his 2022-23 annum performance.

Where Does this Leave Pinto and the Senators

Once Pinto gets some contract negotiation leverage, he will sign a nice contract. For the Senators, they are hopeful it is based on his continued improvement, and the team having additional cap space. For the 2023-24, signing their crop of non-UFA free agents is a tenable task. Currently, according to, they only have $17 million in free space. It is anticipated that Alex DeBrincat will take approximately half of that amount. That would leave the other half for all other team needs, including a goalie and defenceman.

Main Photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports


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