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Prospects Unlimited: Senators happy to let Pinto grow in college ranks

Some consider him a late-bloomer, but Ottawa's gamble on selecting Shane Pinto in the second round sure looks as though it will pay dividends.
Photo by Russell Hons

Photo by Russell Hons

The Senators liked what they saw in Shane Pinto enough to take him at the beginning of the second round last June – and he certainly looks like he’s going to pay dividends.

OTTSystem

While the 18-year-old center has only started his college career at North Dakota, he impressed the Sens with his play for USHL Tri-City last season. Ottawa liked Pinto because of his skill set and his ability to take his offensive performance to the next level. “He gets chances because he’s always playing in the hard areas,” said Senators chief scout Trent Mann. “He’s always playing between the dots, and you see him in front of the net a lot. He’s a bigger body, so he’s willing to go there, and he has enough skill that he’s able to make things happen.”

In scouting circles, he’s a late-bloomer. Mann noted Pinto “hasn’t played a lot of organized hockey because he was a multi-sport athlete.” Pinto didn’t really focus on hockey until he got to the USHL a couple of years ago, and Mann says Pinto was involved in two or three sports, including baseball. “He just went to (the USHL) because he was enjoying the game and he wanted to see what the skill level was about,” Mann said. “He’s one of those kids, and he’ll acknowledge this, that’s learning every day. At development camp, he was in the shooting area after everybody had gone back to the hotel, and he went to see (GM) Pierre (Dorion) in the office so he could get back in to shower. He wasn’t sure where to go. He’s just got a tremendous work ethic and a great demeanor.”

Pinto will have an opportunity down the road in Ottawa as long as his development continues. The Senators will likely have a conversation with him at the end of this season about what path he should take with his college career. That being said, there’s no rush for him to leave school. “I’d like to see him show some more offensive upside at the college level, and I think there will be progression for him throughout the year,” Mann said. “He’s adapting every day, and as he settles in he should get better.” – Bruce Garrioch

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