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What Kind of Contract Will the Ottawa Senators Shane Pinto Sign?

How much will Shane Pinto earn this year for the Ottawa Senators? What length of term is General Manager Steve Staios willing to offer the current restricted free agent (RFA)? Well let’s take a look at some comparable players and then an analysis of Pinto’s personal offensive production for the purpose of projecting his estimated point totals for 2024-25.

Discussion on Comparable Salaries to Shane Pinto Expected Value

One problem that the Ottawa Senators management ultimately has is an interesting internal one that they need to address eventually in order to become contenders. It is very difficult paying players $8 M a year, and they not produce. Not the ones that are producing, they are not the problem. It’s the ones that aren’t producing who are the problem. The point being the Senators cannot afford to give Pinto a similar salary to Josh Norris, Brady Tkachuk, or Thomas Chabot, in fact, the list is longer in 2024-25 as well. Regardless of making the argument that he actually deserves that much.

We Will Have to Look Outward

In order to find comparable salaries, we will have to look elsewhere. Roope Hintz of the Dallas Stars was still on his ELC at $925K as a 23-year-old. That is when he signed his current contract that pays him $8.45 M a year. Statistically, he has been a decent value contract, with his strong two-way play. He has had 72, 75, and 65 points, respectively, over the past three NHL seasons. Moreover, consistency being a huge part of his value to his organization.

As a side bar, heading into the Oilers 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Series, his current health status remains a concern and didn’t play in game one last night. Back to the idea with comparing Hintz to Pinto, is what Pinto’s ceiling as a player could be like. It is tough to expect that much production from Pinto, especially in 2024-25. However, the comparisons as a top six, two-way player are there between the two.

Another player to consider from a different perspective is Alex Newhook of the Montreal Canadiens. Newhook had a 30-point season for the Colorado Avalanche as a 21-year-old. Furthermore, he had the invaluable experience as being a Stanley Cup winner already at this point in his career. In any case, he parlayed his resume into a four-year, $11.6 M deal. It seems like Pinto gets at least that amount of salary. But maybe that amount annually, not total, yet anyway.

Narrowing In on Pinto’s Optimal Value Range

So far we have a pretty good idea of where Pinto is and isn’t. In fact, maybe the actual deal he signs today comes down to numbers that aren’t that far off of each other between the two sides. It is not totally uncommon for $500K a year to stall a deal for sometime. Probably not the case with this variation of the Ottawa Senators management regime, but who knows. Another example for value and player talent within his salary range is someone like New York Islanders defenceman Noah Dobson. Dobson is now a Norris Trophy contention worthy defenceman and makes $4 M this year. He will be 24 years old to start the 2024-25 season. For the Ottawa Senators, someone like Jakob Chychrun is on a similar contract for 2024-25, earning $4.6 M for the upcoming campaign. Drake Batherson is perhaps another similar level type contract.

The point of this discussion is that Shane Pinto is potentially on a similar projection within certain criteria of these types of players. If a player of Dobson’s calibre was in a position to sign for only $4 M at one point throughout the lifelength of his free agency, then Shane Pinto is hardly worth anything more than $5 M at this stage of his career. Of course, it goes without saying, it really boils down to term. One reason a shorter deal, like a one-year deal works for the Senators, is that the Salary Cap is anticipated to jump back into pre-COVID type linearly, year-over-year increases. Therefore, some sort of bridge contract could work best for both interested parties. It could give the Sens more time to make salary cap space for Pinto, and also, allow Pinto time to grow his own stock.

The Ottawa Senators Bottom-Six for 2024-25

Here’s Some Players Statistics on Pinto

In terms of statistics, Shane Pinto of the Ottawa Senators is trending in the positive direction. 2022-23 was his rookie season, and he scored 20 goals, playing as a number two NHL centre-iceman. Then, he followed it up with 27 points in just 41 games in 2023-24. Moreover, he was given increased responsibility, which saw his ice time climb from 15:59 to 18:07 year-over-year. 2023-24 also saw Pinto have a nice standing of 7.7 for CF% Rel. He’s also a career, plus 50% on the faceoff draws. All strong cases for why his projections should be up. However, there are certain downsides to Pinto as well.

He is 23 years old, and his development is probably farther ahead than many players with his level of experience. He still only has 140 career NHL games under his belt. Through his recent crucial development years into becoming an NHL regular, he missed most of 2021-22 with a shoulder injury and half of this past season serving a well-documented sports gambling related suspension. These will all factor into the decision making process for Pinto and what contract he signs.

Shane Pinto of the Ottawa Senators is inline for a raise this summer. Based on our discussion, we can anticipate him landing around two-years, at $3.5 M. The idea is it aligned with the comparable player salaries we have discussed.

In addition, it is amount the Sens organization can afford, and is not underpaying someone who’s career-high is only 35 points. Furthermore, if everything goes according to plan, perhaps this first year Pinto can afford to be slightly overvalued, and then hopefully his play is such that it would seem like an undervalued deal for the second year. At that time, the Senators and Pinto would have established a benchmark for his ceiling. It also gives the league salary cap time to increase, hence, the Sens should have more money to spend around the summer of 2026. At that time, Pinto can look to sign a long-term deal with the club, in the $5-6 M a year area.

Main photo credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports



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