Insider: Update on Senators Extension Plans For Shane Pinto

Shane Pinto has been back for just one game now, but it's expected that the Ottawa Senators are already considering a long-term extension for the young goal-getter. The difference in the team was palpable as his return to the Sens' middle-six seems to have improved the lineup, and he registered one assist and two shots in a 5-3 Ottawa victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.

"I do believe he makes them a lot better... I just think they looked more settled with him out there," NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman said on The Jeff Marek Show on Tuesday. He also offered an update on what the team might be looking at in terms of a new contract for Pinto (he's currently signed to a pro-rated deal for the league minimum of $775,000, but that's just a place-holder for now.)

They can sign him to an extension now, and the only intel that anyone has really given me on him is that the Senators want him for term. It might end up being a shorter term, but I think they want term. He’s got four years left before he becomes a UFA. I don’t think it’s impossible that the Senators want to go into that. I don’t think that necessarily means eight years, I don’t think they can do that, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was like five or six. I just don’t know if they can find the sweet spot because whenever UFA years are involved that’s when the number boosts. 

Pinto had come off his three-year entry-level deal after last season, and then the summer came and went without a new contract for the restricted free agent. It left many scratching their heads until the NHL announced in October that Pinto was being suspended for 41 games due to violating the league's gambling rules. 

The 23-year-old former second-rounder (2019 NHL Entry Draft) burst onto the scene last year in Ottawa with a 20-goal rookie season, cementing himself as a core player for the Senators. Now that he's back on the ice, the two sides can get into those extension talks, and we'll keep an eye on where that goes. 

 Photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports