Pinto signs deal with Sens, suspension cost him more than $1.6 million

Article content

Shane Pinto’s steep price for “activities related to sports wagering:” A 41-game suspension and probably a bit more than $1.6 million in salary.

Advertisement 2

Article content

The Ottawa Senators announced Friday the 23-year-old centre, who was suspended for 41 games by the NHL before the season began, has signed a one-year, $775,000 contract.

Article content

He finishes serving his suspension after the Senators play a home game Saturday against Winnipeg. He’s expected to return to Ottawa’s lineup Sunday in Philadelphia.

It’s believed Pinto, who was selected in the second round (32nd overall) in the 2019 NHL draft, and the Senators were close on a two-year deal that would have paid him more than $2 million per season, this year and next, before the team was told he was under investigation by the league.

It was reported on X by @CapFriendly Pinto will get $359,245 in prorated salary with 89 days remaining in the season. That’s a lot less than the $2 million he would have earned for a full season.

Advertisement 3

Article content

To Pinto, though, it’s just money. He’s visibly excited to get back into his team’s lineup.

“When you see that number, it’s a lot of money,” Pinto said. “But I get to play hockey every day. With that (money) stuff, my time will come, I’m not too worried about it. I just want to get playing and help this team.”

While missing the first half of the season hurt Pinto financially, it, oddly enough, probably helped the Senators through a difficult salary-cap mess. Had they given Pinto $2 million, they may have had to move others out.

Pinto said it was important to get a contract for this year worked out. He’ll worry about what’s beyond this year later.

A lot of his family and friends will be at Sunday’s game.

“It’s going to be like my first NHL game again,” Pinto said. “I just want to go out and play.”

Advertisement 4

Article content

Senators coach Jacques Martin was asked about the addition of Pinto, which, with the expected return of Josh Norris from injury Saturday, gives the Senators a wealth of talent at the centre position.

“When you miss half a season, the difficulty sometimes is the timing,” Martin said. “Usually, you have training camp and, as camp progresses, you’re getting ready for the game tempo. It’s no different than missing time for injuries and coming back. It takes some time, but he’ll be a good addition for the team.”

Pinto, who’s from Franklin Square, N.Y., was one of five players to skate in each of the Senators’ 82 regular-season games in 2022-23. He had career highs in goals (20), assists (15) and points (35) to rank seventh in team scoring.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Going into his fourth season, Pinto has 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists) in 99 games.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Asked about getting in practice time with the Senators leading into his return, Pinto said: “It’s still going to take me a bit to get my grounding and my touches and details back, but I don’t think it’ll take too long. The practice has helped, but there’s nothing like a game.”

How much can he expect to play immediately?

“I’ve been training for a while,” Pinto said. “I’m fresh, my body feels good. It’s a coach’s decision, but I feel like I can play however much they want me to.”

A former standout at the University of North Dakota, Pinto was the first player in conference history to be recognized as its Forward of the Year and as Defensive Forward of the Year in the lead up to signing his entry-level contract with Ottawa in March 2020. He also was a Top 3 Hobey Baker Award finalist.

Advertisement 6

Article content

Recommended from Editorial


The Senators hosted the Melnyk Skate for Kids on Friday, with more than 100 children being presented with a Senators jersey, helmet and new pair of skates.

The 18th annual skate, which has been held since 2004, has provided more than 1,600 helmets and pairs of skates to youth throughout the region. 

Friday, it was students in grades four, five and six from Prince of Peace Catholic School (Walkley Rd.), Hawthorne Public School (St. Laurent Blvd.) and Sacred Heart Catholic School (Cornwall) on hand.


Norris, who is expected to return to the lineup Saturday, spent extra time on the ice during Friday’s optional team skate. “I feel good. It was a really good day, we’ll see what tomorrow brings,” Norris said. Asked about an upper-body injury that forced him to miss games after tumbling to the ice last week against Calgary, Norris said: “I nearly did a somersault, it was a weird play, but I was OK. I knew I was flexible, but that was like Cirque du Soleil stuff.” … Norris, a Detroit Lions fan, has never seen his team win a playoff game. He missed the end of Detroit’s 24-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday, opting to instead get some sleep. It was the Lions’ first playoff win in 32 years. The Lions play Tampa Bay on Sunday … Asked about Thursday’s win, Martin said: “We’re starting to get more results from point shots and rebounds. One of our goals was a direct result of a point shot, then battling to get to the net.” … With a goal and assist in Thursday’s 6-2 romp over the Montreal Canadiens, Senators winger Brady Tkachuk had his 80th career multi-point game, passing Radek Bonk for sole possession of seventh most in team history. 

Article content