The Calgary Flames should explore the idea of trading for Shane Pinto
Photo credit:© Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
The Calgary Flames are at an interesting crossroads as an organization. Do they continue to pay veteran players and remain a competitive team? Or should they take a step back in order to get younger and build for the future?
If they want to get younger and start building for the future, they should look at trading for Ottawa Senators centre Shane Pinto.
Pinto is a restricted free agent who has yet to sign a new deal with the Senators. The problem, like most teams in the NHL, the Senators don’t have a lot of money to spend as they are right up against the salary cap of $83.5 million. According to Cap Friendly, Ottawa only has $895,953 of cap space to work with to sign Pinto and Josh Bailey, who was just brought into camp on a professional tryout (PTO). They also need to make room for Josh Norris as he spent last season on LTIR. This whole situation makes me wonder why the Sens decided to sign Vladimir Tarasenko to a big one year deal (but we’ll save that for another article). Because of all that, Pinto could be available for the right price via trade.
Pinto is a 22-year-old, right shot centre. The 6’2″, 192-pound native of Franklin Square, New York played in his first full NHL season in 2022-23. He scored 20 goals and added 15 assists. He is a great skater known for having an excellent shot.
14 of Pinto’s 20 goals were scored at 5-on-5. He outscored both Alex DeBrincat and Drake Batherson at 5-on-5. Pinto had some of the worst puck luck among his teammates has he finished 16 out of 18 players to play 400 minutes at 5-on-5 in PDO (0.964). He was outscored 54-36 when he was on the ice but had an xGF% of 50.73%. That tells me that he wasn’t getting any saves or shooting percentage luck from he or his teammates.
Pinto is someone who has all the physical tools to become a top six center in the NHL. He’s big, fast, and has a great shot. Just take a look at some of the beautiful goals he scored last season.
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Pinto is exactly what the Flames should be looking for on the trade market. Calgary has no depth at centre when you look at who is signed heading into the 2024-25 season. The only centre under contact who could play NHL minutes in 2024-25 is Nazem Kadri.
Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Adam Ruzicka, Dillon Dube, and Connor Zary are all either UFAs or RFAs next summer.
Adding a 22-year-old right shot centre would be a huge coup for Craig Conroy and the Flames organization, especially if they’re able to sign him to a long term contact.
Making this deal work is a difficult task to say the least. It’s going to take a lot of creativity to get done because both the Flames and Senators are up against the salary cap. Both teams have less than $1,000,000 of cap space to work with. Because of that, there would have to be a third team involved to take on a contract or two. There also might have to be a trade or two outside this deal to make it all work.
However, for the sake of this exercise I will propose a three-way trade between Ottawa, Calgary and Nashville.
To Ottawa: 2024 Second-Round Pick (TB), 2024 Fourth-Round Pick (NSH), Connor Zary
To Calgary: Shane Pinto
To Nashville: Mikael Backlund
Calgary trades Mikael Backlund to Nashville for a second and fourth round pick in 2024. Calgary then sends those picks and Connor Zary to Ottawa in exchange for Shane Pinto.
It’s a little complicated but it’s one of the the only ways to make a deal like this work because of their cap situations.
The only elements that could hold this deal up are Backlund not having Nashville on his 10 team trade list and Shane Pinto refusing to sign long term with the Flames, which are real possibilities.
One of the reasons it was less than ideal not to move out some salary this summer is because it prevents the Flames from taking advantage of a situation like this with Pinto. It can still be done but it’s not going to be easy to do.
What do you think of the idea of the Flames going after Shane Pinto? Let us know in the comments section!
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