Pierre Dorion and DJ Smith were discussing Ottawa Senators prospect Shane Pinto earlier this week when the head coach went with a curious, joking suggestion to his general manager.
“Maybe we could put him in the lineup just to win our faceoffs on the power play and on the penalty kill,” Smith suggested.
Dorion told the anecdote during an interview with the radio station TSN 1200 in which it was reported that Pinto won about two-thirds of his face-offs. A 66% save rate for the North Dakota University forward in the NCAA.
By comparison, the leader in this regard in the National Hockey League in 2019-2020 was Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers at 59.6%, ahead of JT Miller of the Vancouver Canucks (59.2%). The best of the Senators’ regulars who completed last season in Ottawa were Nick Paul and Chris Tierney, each with a 51.2% success rate.
Overall, Dorion praises Pinto, however, second round pick (32e overall) of the Senators in the 2019 draft, for more than its faceoff effectiveness.
“Shane is definitely one of the best prospects in our organization,” he said. I am very impressed with the way he plays. When his NCAA career is complete, I believe he could knock straight on the NHL’s door for a position with the Senators. ”
The key to the locker room
The CEO had another anecdote to tell about the 20-year-old American during that same interview. At his first development camp with the Senators, players had to leave the arena around 3 p.m. on a certain day. However, Pinto must have shown up in Dorion’s office around 5 p.m. when he was facing a curious problem.
When asked by the general manager what he was doing there, Pinto replied that he had simply decided to stay on the ice for two more hours to throw pucks and that in the meantime the officials of the arena had closed access to the locker rooms.
“It just shows his dedication to becoming the best player he can be,” said Dorion.
Since the start of this season in the NCAA, Pinto has 12 points, including four goals, in just eight games.