NHL Prospect Report

Draft Retrospective: Shane Pinto and the value of off-puck play

You have to hand it to the Ottawa Senators scouting staff. They don't suffer the weight of consensus, often zigging where other teams zag, and proving a lot of draft analysts wrong in the process.

There is perhaps no better example of this than the selection of Shane Pinto at 32nd overall in the second round of the 2019 draft. This is a player who wasn't even on my board at the time -- it was a short list, only 50 prospects long -- as I thought of him as more of a mid-round prospect, better suited to the third or fourth round than the second.

At the time, Pinto struck me as a player with only a decent chance of making it as a bottom-line forward. So, when Ottawa took him at the start of Day 2, I was skeptical.

Fast forward only two years, and Pinto recorded seven points in his first dozen NHL games. On top of being an almost sure-fire career NHLer, he raised the ceiling I imposed upon him. A long-term second-line role on the wing or at centre now seems more than possible for him.

So, here comes the question at the centre of this series: What happened? Is Pinto a story of great skill development or did I overlook something in his draft year? The more I research past drafts, the more I realize that the second part is often true.

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