NHL Rumor Mill – October 27, 2023
What happens next for the Senators and Shane Pinto following his 41-game suspension? Could the Panthers and Blue Jackets become trade partners? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Pinto won’t sign his contract until January once his suspension is served. This will also give the Senators more time to swing a trade to free up cap space to sign him. LeBrun also stated that the investigation had nothing to do with why Pinto hadn’t been signed yet by the Senators.
Darren Dreger indicated that the NHL Players Association negotiated the 41-game suspension. They recognized that league commissioner Gary Bettman could hit Pinto with a much harsher punishment.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports that it’s believed the Senators were close on a two-year contract for Shane Pinto prior to his 41-game suspension on Thursday for activities that violated the NHL’s wagering rules. The deal would’ve paid the 22-year-old center an average annual value of $2 million.
When informed of the investigation, the Senators were told to rescind any contract offers to Pinto’s agent. Garrioch expects that Pinto will sign his one-year qualifying offer to get the contract out of the way while he’s serving his suspension.
The earliest the young center can return to action is Jan. 21, which buys general manager Pierre Dorion time to determine a proper cost-cutting trade candidate.
This situation could also work to Dorion’s advantage in his negotiations with the Pinto camp. Mendes wondered if the latter would still attempt to get a little bit of security in his contract or accept a one-year deal at a lesser rate and try again next summer. He’s not assuming that Pinto and his agent will accept the one-year qualifying offer of $874, 125.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This situation could also prompt speculation of the Senators attempting to trade Pinto once he’s served his suspension given all that’s transpired. Reports out of Ottawa in recent weeks claimed that they don’t want to move him and the club issued a statement following his suspension that they’ll welcome him back with open arms.
Still, we can’t dismiss the possibility of Doirion peddling Pinto starting in January, though I daresay this suspension could hurt his value in the trade market.
COULD THE PANTHERS AND BLUE JACKETS SWING A TRADE?
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy noted that the Columbus Blue Jackets have been attempting to trade a defenseman for weeks now. It’s believed right-shot blueliners Erik Gudbranson, Adam Boqvist and Andrew Peeke are available.
Murphy indicated that the Florida Panthers are interested in upgrading their blueline though they’ll be squeezed for salary-cap space once defenseman Aaron Ekblad comes off long-term injury reserve. A source told Murphy that the Panthers and Dallas Stars have an interest in Boqvist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have only used just over $1 million of their LTIR cap space. They have room to add Boqvist’s $2.6 million cap hit but they’ll have to shed salary to make room for Ekblad when he returns in January.
They could prefer instead waiting until close to the March 8 trade deadline to boost their defense corps. There could be more affordable options available by that time plus they’ll have accrued some cap space by then.