Senators' Pinto Ramping Up Training, Expected To Sign Soon

The Ottawa Senators have been without one of their talented young forwards for this entire season for two reasons. Shane Pinto was suspended 41 games for violating NHL policy on gambling on top of the fact that he hasn't yet signed a contract off of his entry-level deal.

Reported by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the Senators expect Pinto to sign his qualifying offer before he is eligible to return to action on Jan. 21, 2024. This would fit perfectly for the Senators who didn't have the cap space to sign Pinto before the season and before the suspension hit. The cap hit of the qualifying offer would only be $874,000 AAV for the rest of the season, then the two sides can discuss further.

Pinto is expected to resume training with the Senators' skills coaches soon as he ramps up to return to action. He has been training elsewhere during his suspension. Ottawa could use his talents back in the lineup as the team is under .500 in a season where it's playoffs or bust and could use all the help they could get. Pinto was impressive last season as a rookie, scoring 20 goals and recording 35 points in 82 games. He was able to fill in as a top-six centerman for most of the season. The team hasn't dealt with as many injuries up front as last season, so he would likely slot in on the third line with Dominik Kubalik and Ridly Greig, pushing Mathieu Joseph to the fourth line for the most part.

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