Senators Rumors: “Wide Gap” Exists In Shane Pinto Contract Talks

It's been quite the roller-coaster start to his NHL career for the Ottawa Senators' Shane Pinto. A 20-goal showing in his rookie campaign, then a 41-game suspension for gambling violations wiped out half his sophomore season. 

Now he's a restricted free agent once again, after signing an in-season, pro-rated minimum deal coming off his suspension. And while a more substantial contract with term is being eyed by both sides this offseason, at this point, according to Bruce Garrioch recently in the Ottawa Sun, that is nowhere in sight: 

Ideally, both sides would like to get a long-term deal in the five-to-six-year range in place. Postmedia has been told the two sides have a fairly wide gap to close if that’s going to happen.

Pinto's camp is reportedly seeking something in the range of $5 million AAV, but the Senators are offering nowhere close to that.

The 23-year-old has been off playing for Team USA at the IHF World Championships this month in Czechia, so there's still plenty of time to close the gap, if the two sides are agreeable to bend a little. 

Pinto finished his rookie season in 2022-23 with 35 points and a plus/minus rating of -21 in 16 minutes of ice-time per night. This past year, after returning from suspension, he posted nine goals and 27 points in 41 games, a much better points-per-game average, and was relied on for 18 minutes a night. 

It's still hard to project his future value with only one full season and another half a year under his belt. And Pinto does not own arbitration rights. This might be the sort of situation where a bridge deal might be in order, 2-3 years, so that he can just get in camp with a contract (unlike last year) and both sides can assess better where they are in 2026 or '27, and a proper long-term extension can be discussed at that point. 

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