02/23/2024

BUF:

2

CBJ:

1

Final

WPG:

3

CHI:

2

Final

MIN:

4

EDM:

2

Final

02/24/2024

STL:

1

DET:

6

Final

MTL:

3

NJD:

4

Final

TBL:

4

NYI:

2

Final

NYR:

2

PHI:

1

Final

WSH:

2

FLA:

3

Final

TOR:

4

COL:

3

Final

VGK:

3

OTT:

4

Final

BOS:

2

VAN:

3

Final

DAL:

2

CAR:

1

Final

CGY:

6

EDM:

3

Final

MIN:

5

SEA:

2

Final

NSH:

4

SJS:

2

Final

ANA:

2

LAK:

3

Final

02/25/2024

TBL:

4

NJD:

1

Final

PHI:

6

PIT:

7

Final

CAR:

2

BUF:

3

Final

NYR:

2

CBJ:

4

Final

DET:

3

CHI:

2

Final

ARI:

3

WPG:

4

Final

NSH:

4

ANA:

2

Final

02/26/2024

OTT:

3

WSH:

6

Final

NYI:

3

DAL:

2

Final

LAK:

2

EDM:

4

Final

BOS:

3

SEA:

4

Final

02/27/2024

WSH:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

MTL:

0

07:00 ET

TBL:

0

PHI:

0

07:00 ET

VGK:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

MIN:

0

08:00 ET

OTT:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

STL:

0

WPG:

0

08:00 ET

LAK:

0

CGY:

0

09:00 ET

DAL:

0

COL:

0

09:30 ET

PIT:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

NJD:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

02/28/2024

CBJ:

0

NYR:

0

07:00 ET

STL:

0

EDM:

0

08:30 ET

02/29/2024

VGK:

0

BOS:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

CBJ:

0

07:00 ET

NYI:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

MTL:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

TBL:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

WPG:

0

DAL:

0

08:00 ET

MIN:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

COL:

0

CHI:

0

09:00 ET

PIT:

0

SEA:

0

10:00 ET

LAK:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

ANA:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

Trading Shane Pinto Would be a Mistake

(Photo by Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images
(Photo by Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

This is a subject that’s been exhausted among Senators fans online, but I’ve come full circle. Starting from being stressed about it, to becoming sick of it being the only thing anyone is talking about, then at peace with whatever happens, and now back to being stressed again. So here’s my take on the whole thing, though the title is a bit of a spoiler.

To catch anyone up who either doesn’t follow the Sens or has a healthier work/life/favorite sports team balance than myself, here’s a quick refresher. The Ottawa Senators, for the first time in well over a decade, are a max salary cap team. New owner Michael Andlauer will officially take over later this month, but it’s evident that he’s already making an impact on the front office. Currently, the Senators have just over $120k in cap space, quite a difference from their typical team payroll, which has usually been somewhere between $5 million and $10 million below the cap this past decade. That’s a bit more of a history lesson than is necessary, but it’s worth pointing out how long it’s been since the cap was the team’s obstacle in signing a player rather than a lack of money.

Shane Pinto Stats

As I mentioned before, the Senators have about $120k in cap space, and Shane Pinto is still without a contract just three weeks before the season begins. This is a problem; Shane Pinto is a good player, and you should want him on your team. As a rookie last season, Pinto scored 20 goals and 35 points. By no means the production that makes you a household name, but he definitely outperformed expectations. With Josh Norris injured for nearly the entire season, Pinto was forced into the role of second line center in Norris’ place. Not exactly where you want to put a rookie with only around 20 games played at the time, but he held his own. A 22-year-old with a 20 goal season under his belt who plays center: that’s the kind of player you want to build your depth around in the bottom-6. But to keep him, someone will have to be moved.

The general consensus has been to trade Mathieu Joseph, who isn’t a bad player by any means but has the biggest cap hit of the bottom-6 forwards at $2.95 million. That number should more than cover Pinto’s next contract, but moving Joseph is easier said than done. That $2.95 million cap hit carries over the next three seasons, and while it’s hardly crippling for a team to take it on, it would almost certainly require a sweetener from Ottawa to make it happen, especially since any team that general manager Pierre Dorion calls will be well aware that the Sens need to make room for Pinto. The discussion then becomes, do you want to move Joseph and a pick to keep Pinto, or move Pinto and acquire something in return? Players like Pinto don’t grow on trees, and replacing him would be a lot more difficult than replacing a 4th liner who can play on the penalty kill like Joseph.

There’s no way to get fair value for Pinto in a trade. Unless he’s moved for draft picks, which makes no sense with the Senators wanting to contend right now, a contract would have to be moved out with him to make room for whoever comes back. So now it’s back to trying to find a suitor for Joseph, and moving him as a cap dump alongside Pinto would mean even less in return. Trading Joseph along with a pick for nothing in return but cap space isn’t ideal, especially with how few early draft picks the Senators have had in the past two years (zero first round picks, a single second round pick, and three third round picks in the past two drafts combined), but they have two first round picks in the 2024 draft (their own and Detroit’s) so if they have to move on from their second round pick this year to clear Joseph’s cap hit… I don’t love it, but it’s better than any alternative solution I can think of.

There’s no doubt that Pinto is the better player of the two already, and he has several years of development ahead of him. But just to play a little devil’s advocate, it’s worth mentioning that Pinto’s production will likely take a step back this season as long as Norris and Tim Stützle stay healthy and remain ahead of him in the lineup. With a healthy Norris and the acquisition of Dominik Kubalik, Pinto will be spending more time on the third line and a lot less on the powerplay if Kubalik finds himself on the second unit. Joseph also had a down year last season. I don’t think his style of play would see him score more than 30 points, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him bounce back a little offensively and maintain, if not improve on his defensive game as well. However, if he doesn’t put together a stronger season, trying to move his contract could be even more difficult next summer.

Even if Joseph improves and Pinto takes a step back, I still value Pinto significantly more. Time is running out with the season just around the corner, so whatever is going to happen should happen any day now. If Pinto is sticking around, management should be doing everything they can to make sure he doesn’t miss training camp.

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