NHL Rumor Mill – October 2, 2023

by | Oct 2, 2023 | Rumors | 36 comments

The latest on the Senators’ contract talks with Shane Pinto plus more speculation over potential goalie targets for the Lightning in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators and Shane Pinto appear to be at a stalemate in contract negotiations. It remains to be seen if either side will bend in time for the 22-year-old center to report to training camp before the Senators’ final preseason game on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Garrioch cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting over the weekend that the gap between Pinto and the Senators had widened after the club offered a one-year, $1-million contract. It’s believed that the offer came with the provision that the two sides would meet in January to discuss an extension.

Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto (NHL Images).

There’s talk Pinto seeks a deal worth $2.5 million annually while the Senators prefer something closer to the two-year, $4.2 million contract ($2.1 million average annual value) earned by Philadelphia Flyers center Morgan Frost.

Garrioch believes the two sides aren’t that far apart and could settle on a two-year contract. The Senators have no intention of trading Pinto and he doesn’t want to move. Pinto also has little leverage as he lacks arbitration rights and is ineligible to receive an offer sheet from a rival club.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes pointed out that the Senators only have around $900K (as per Cap Friendly) in salary cap space. He also noted that Pinto cannot sign a bonus-laden one-year contract with a base salary in the $900K range. Mendes thinks the trust between the two sides may have eroded to the point where the Pinto camp won’t agree to a one-year $900K contract with the promise of a more lucrative extension in January.

Mendes suggests this is about how much the Senators actually value Pinto. He thinks they’ve already sent a clear message about his importance to the team by prioritizing everybody else around him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators management supposedly wants to get Pinto signed and doesn’t want to trade him yet they re-signed everyone else first plus they invested $5 million in cap space on signing unrestricted free agent Vladimir Tarasenko. If he’s so valuable they should’ve locked him up as soon as possible before signing lesser players or making a splash in the free-agent pool.

I get that Pinto has no leverage here other than to sit out. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was undoubtedly hoping to use that to his advantage to get him signed to an affordable short-term contract with the promise of a better deal down the road.

If the Pinto camp sought something far more expensive than $2.5 million per season I could understand management’s hardball position. However, what he’s asking for isn’t unreasonable for a forward coming off a 20-goal season that saw him finish fifth among rookie scorers.

Dorion’s signing of Tarasenko before getting Pinto under contract created this situation. He’ll have to shed salary via trade or waivers to get the young center signed before the coming season. That will bring Pinto back into the lineup but moving out another player could also affect their overall depth.


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently speculated over which goaltenders the Tampa Bay Lightning could target to fill the gap between the pipes with starter Andrei Vasilevskiy sidelined by back surgery.

Fox thinks Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois will have his eyes glued to the waiver wire in the coming days. He wondered if BriseBois put in a claim for Spencer Martin, who was plucked away on Saturday by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Calgary’s Dan Vladar and his $2.2 million cap hit could be too expensive for the cap-strapped Lightning. More affordable options could include Toronto’s Martin Jones ($875K) and Pittsburgh’s Magnus Hellberg ($785K).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m also thinking BriseBois could go the waiver route. Vladar would be a better option but the Lightning not only lack cap space but also depth in draft picks to use as trade bait.


  1. Sens shouldn’t have given every other RFA a $8M pay cheque if they weren’t going to have room to pay Pinto $2M. If the Sens don’t want to pay him, I hope Chevy can make a deal to bring him to the Peg.

    • Dorion is looking at Ridley Crieg who could very well replace Pinto at third line centre.
      So yes Pinto is a solid young forward whose peak is likely a good second line centre. He isn’t a guy that isn’t replaceable. I completely understand why Dorion would have chosen to sign Tarasenko when he could rather than sign pinto and hope Tarasenko would take less or not sign elsewhere while Dorion tried to free up more money to bring him in.

      Pinto is worth the 2.1 to 2.5 he is asking. What I think Dorion may have underestimated is the willingness for teams to not gouge another manager when they know that manager is in a bind.

      Asking a player to take less now in promise of a larger reward later isn’t going to work on a guy who had previous shoulder injuries and on a team who just came under new ownership. The GM Pinto shakes hands with may not even be there in January to honour the deal. I believe something like this happened with Daniel Alfredsson who added a year to his contract to bring his cap hit down but had an agreement with Melnyk to be compensated in his next contract and the compensation was felt lacking, causing him to boot to Detroit. (Just speculation from stories I l’ve read)

      It would suck to lose Pinto for a player who may only stay here for the one year.

      Yet he may be valuable as a trade chip as well.

      Time will tell how this plays out but I think Dorion will find a trade partner and I don’t think this is really the mess it is made out to be.

      The biggest concern is Norris. Is he healthy. Will he get injured again. Not having Norris and Ppnto down the middle may cause the senators to once again have a slow start . So even though Creig is there to step in a 3rd I doubt he will ever be 2nd and that is where the danger lies .

      • Well said Jeff, and I agree.

        Maybe after the season starts and teams like TB put guys like Vas on LTIR, there will be more space open and lineup holes identified. Just spit balling as I have no idea what a guy like Joseph or Kubilak will get traded for. But they are still a solid NHL players aren’t they? Kubilak might be easier as he only has a year on his deal.

        Has to be someone out there that has a need that can be filled on the cheap or even a small asset included.

      • A GM has to plan for eventualities, Norris is returning the second time for shoulder problems, Pinto has had shoulder surgery, but played the entire season last year, Greig had a sternum injury recently.

        A young Pinto asking for reasonable money who scored more goals last year than Tarasenko is left in limbo.

        Six years in a row of missing the playoffs makes a GM do foolish things and fanboys rationalize.

      • You’ve really been taking a run at the Sens lately, Habsfan30.
        It’s been entertaining to read. Can you do the Leafs next? It’s been too quiet in here lately.

      • Speaking of “fan-boys” – look in a mirror

      • Pinto and his camp need to stop their whining and sign a year deal. Dorion will take care of him next year. I get pinto had 20 g last ear, but out of a 3 year elc he pretty much only played a year of it. Trading Joseph or Branstrom or Kubalek would be crazy. Especially if you have to throw in sweeteners.
        Dorian needed Tarensenko to fill the hole the cat left. Pinto needs to take a team friendly as he has no real other leverage except to play on a million deal and show management he can play and improve. Sorry kiddo, but that’s just how life as a rookie works. Everyone wants their money as quickly as they can now, but I like this old school move by Dorion. Too often gms are at the will of these young players, this is litterally the only time gms have an upper hand. Promise him a raise and some awesome line partners with some pp time and let’s all move on.

      • 2422,

        I comment on Pinto and the Sens when they come up and fanboys defend the mismanagement

        The TML get dumped on ad nauseam over here as it is.

      • Pinto and his camp. have every right to “whine”. Dorian sent the message that Tarasenko is clearly more important than Shane. I’d be pissed too.

      • habfan talks more about the Sens than the Habs so that tells you what you need to know.

      • It’s yet to be determined how foolish this will end up being for Dorian. The season hasn’t even started yet, and no, they are not losing Pinto unless they choose to move him.

        If they end up moving Kubulak or Joseph for anything resembling a reasonable deal and sign Pinto and have Tarasenko, then seems like a decent win IMO, and the right call.

        Every year we see GM’s stuck in “cap hell” and every year they find a way. Sometimes it can be expensive, sometimes not so much. This seems closer to the latter as the guys they are trying to move are decent players and could be an upgrade on multiple teams who have space.

        Or every GM could play hard ball, and Dorian could end up burning a bridge with a good young player.

        Fact is we don’t know yet. I’ll place my $ on he moves one of the 2 guys mentioned shortly after the season officially starts, and it costs the Sens something minimal. And I cheer for a team who the Sens will be competing with for a playoff spot.

        We will see, I have been wrong before and will be again.

      • theSaint,

        I comment on the hockey news and the rumors instead of just harping on “my” team.

        Year two of the rebuild which appears to be well managed and I doubt anybody has any interest in the process and growth of the prospect pool which will include 11 picks this coming draft and 11 in the next one.

    • Jeff and Owen – well said. Adding to the equation is the emergence of Robbie Jarventie, a winger who was moved to C by the Belleville coach last season. Here’s an excerpt from the report on last night’s exhibition game in Sydney versus the Panthers

      “Jarventie scored his third goal of the pre-season in this one and after being moved to centre by Belleville coach David Bell when the latter took over last year and has looked comfortable in this camp.

      The 21-year-old Jarventie was a second-round pick in the 2020 camp and has looked solid. Only 11 seconds into the second period, he took a pass and fired it upstairs on Spencer Knight to give the club a 2-1 lead.

      With Shane Pinto unsigned, Jarventie has a chance to start on the third line.”

      Should he continue to impress, and with Grieg almost certain to make the team (both on low-cost ELCs), the C position looks to be in good hands. And next year, with the cap going up by $4 mil and another $4,645,833 freed up with the termination of the Murray retention and Ryan and Del Zotto buy-outs – along with the $5 mil for Tarasenko who likely won’t be back, they’ll have just over $9 mil to spend – and possibly $12 mil if another UFA – Kubalik ($2.5 mil) is regarded as expendable (I hope he does well on that 3rd line and is resogned – I like his game).

      • Correction: last part should read:

        And next year, with the cap going up by $4 mil and another $4,645,833 freed up with the termination of the Murray retention and Ryan and Del Zotto buy-outs – along with the $5 mil for Tarasenko who likely won’t be back, they’ll have just over $$13.5 mil to spend – and possibly $16 mil if another UFA – Kubalik ($2.5 mil) is regarded as expendable (I hope he does well on that 3rd line and is resigned – I like his game).

  2. Veleno, Albert Johannson and a 2nd for Pinto!
    Dorian is out of cap hell.

    • I don’t know much about Pinto. Is he really worth that much Johnny ?

      • Yup, by next year he could be the RW 2nd line C, supplanting both Copp and Compher!

  3. The cheque is in the mail.
    Don’t believe a promise in the NHL. What about injury about a new GM

    Pinto will cave unless Sens get an injury or retain something and just give Joseph away .

    • New GM. In Ottawa, that’s a good idea.

      • I second that thought.

        If Dorion trades Pinto I hope he has enough sense to trade him outside the division, or even better to a team in the Western conference.
        Might be best to start the season with
        Pinto on the sidelines. It is inevitable that a couple of high end forwards get injured and a prominent team will be looking to back fill.

        It just burns me that Dorion is finally given the green light to spend to the cap and he mucks it up.

      • For sure. I mean, no GM is perfect. They all make mistakes, it’s part of the job. However, this situation on top of a not so great situation when it came to debrincat. Mistakes are mounting I guess you could say.

  4. Cayden Primeau will likely be hitting waivers in the coming days. I wonder if BriseBois takes a look there?

    • Pinto can be left in the wind until Dec1. Eventually someone on the squad will be thrown on Ltir and the money magically appears to sign him. If there is no injury his 1.5 million is prorated losing 2 months of pay so do the math downwards on 1.5.
      Not a great way to treat your players but it’s a logical conclusion without having to trade away assets or give away picks.

  5. I Really Hope PD get a trade Done sooner or latter…
    So he can Clear Cap space and Sign young Pinto…

    The kid Scored 20 Goal in his first year…
    what happen’s if he score 30 this year…..

    Him and Rilley Greg on the 3rd line with Tarasenko would be a Killer 3rd Line…..⁉️

    Cap Space is the killer all round here….😳

  6. The Pinto contract situation can easily be tied to two illadvised buyouts due to Dorion’s lack of long-term planning and/or Melnyk’s uber-cheapness.

    Bobby Ryan was bought out one year too early after having a nice comeback season after going through rehab. Every Sens fan remembers Ryan’s hat trick game that season and he was well-liked by his teammates. There was no urgency to buy Ryan out that summer from a contract perspective other than to save some cash short term. Dorion should have looked at the contention window and when the star player entry level deals expired to see that adding nearly US$2M to the cap this year would be problematic.

    Even stupider was buying out Del Zotto last year. Ottawa had lots of cap room to absorb the full US$2M and decided to push US$750k onto the cap this year when Stutzle’s contract extension kicked in. That US$750k would be really helpful right now in signing Pinto.

    This is on top of the horrid Murray contract they partially have on the books this year.

    I think things will get sorted out this week by trading Kubalik or Joseph with a sweetener, but they wouldn’t have been in this mess if the Ryan and Del Zotta buyouts were thought out better.

    • Van , excellent points on unnecessary buyouts and the after effect

    • The joy of hindsight.

      • This wasn’t hindsight. Sens fans I talked with and I thought the same thing when the buyouts happened.

  7. Lots of comments on Pinto and PD. Nice to see us talking about a smaller market and them being very relevant.
    My 2 cents and could be very wroug but thinking almost all of us right or wrong have Batherson on the list of players suspended . I am betting as much as that would hurt PD signed Vlad for that reason .

    • Swany: I forgot about that side of things. Perhaps Dorion knows Batherson will be suspended for a big portion or all of this year. Half the season would be about US$2.5M – there’s your money for Pinto without given up solid NHL depth players for nothing.

      • Can my guess would be longer than that but who knows . I am think a year plus and never playing for team Canada again. But could be way off . Not sure how a lot of us have Bath involved because I have never seen anything other than speculation . But we all know every GM knows and is waiting for a resolution to this . But thinking PD signed Vlad knowing who he was replacing for at least this year .
        But please don’t think I am pointing a figure at Bath just saying how most of us are thinking he was involved

      • The weird part of that is that the alleged victim has settled…..again. And now it’s crickets from Hockey Canada. That settlement happened in August of 2023. So….what’s happening now? Formenton returning to the AHL? Is it all swept under the rug then?

        Too me the bigger screw ups by PD are the bad bad bad asset management on defense. He just waived 2 former first round pick defensemen and one got claimed. Nice work.

  8. I’m finding all this Shane Pinto dialogue somewhat puzzling. Decent skater with some size and seeming smarts however what’s being forgotten here is that although he scored 20 goals last season it was primarily due to him being elevated, through necessity, onto the second line. Is he a second line centre? Not IMO, at least not at this stage of his career and there are a couple of other players who are currently knocking on the door for 3rd line duties so it seems to me he’s currently positioned between a rock and a hard place. It may come down to him swallowing his pride and agreeing to a one year ‘show us you’re real’ contract…

  9. Makar was on that team. Where does it end ? Comtois just got a PTO
    The thing I know for sure Formenton fessed up. Where is he again ? Flushed a career but least he admitted it. You can’t tell me he isn’t good enough for the NHL
    They need to get the facts presented
    and penalties levied . Banned from all international play for life at a minimum .Were any NHL contracted players at the time of question ?
    If so league suspension of games tba

    • I dont understand how Dorion put himself in this situation. Did he expect Pinto to sign for the minimum for one year? If they trade him which is not likely but if they did I dont see how Terasenko and Kubalik are a clear update over Pinto and Debrincat. For the Sens it depends on the goalie and I am just not sold on Korpisalo. He does get hot but has cold spells as well. Pinto in a summer package for Hellebuck made more sense. Dorion blunders on some contracts but he and his staff have drafted well and those drafted players are getting better. Improved yes, playoffs not yet. thx

  10. Maybe its me but I dont think anybody should lose their lively hood, get fired or suspended without their day in court. Male or female. Hockey or business or life. THE nhl obviously is not suspending anyone because if they were their target date should have been a few months ago. And as a Lawyer for anyone suspended I would sue the league and Hockey Canada to prove I was involved.