Flexibility within the NY Islanders organization has been difficult over the past few seasons, as much of the roster is locked up to long-term deals. As the team gets older and without a first-round pick in the last four years, talented youth has become a hefty price to pay to compete each year.
Up in the Canadian capital, Long Island native Shane Pinto remains without a contract as he and the Ottawa Senators continue to discuss terms on an extension, with seemingly neither side willing to budge. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported last week that the Senators offered him a one-year deal worth $1M, upsetting Pinto, as he believes he brings much more value to the team.
While the two sides continue to hammer out a potential deal, there could become a time when negotiations break down entirely and decide to go their separate ways. This is where the Islanders come into play, as Friedman believes the Isles could come knocking in the unlikely scenario that Pinto hits the trade market.
"I will say this. I don't think Shane Pinto is getting traded. I don't," said Friedman on the 32 Thoughts podcast. "But it wouldn't surprise me if the Islanders were one of the teams kicking the tires there. That's where he's from, they'd like that."
The thought of acquiring Pinto is one thing, but having the assets to do so is another. The Isles have one of the worst prospect pools in the league, and giving up another first-round pick would mean five straight years without one.
A native of Franklin Square, just a three-mile drive to UBS Arena, Pinto grew up playing for the Long Island Gulls, one of the top youth teams on the island.
Drafted 32nd overall in 2019, Pinto, 22, played two seasons at the University of North Dakota before turning pro. In his first full NHL season last year, Pinto finished with 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists), appearing in all 82 games.
"Both sides think they've given, and now it becomes 'well I'm not giving any more. I've given enough, I'm not giving any more,'" said Friedman regarding Pinto and the Senators negotiations. "And I think both sides are like that. And they're close, and I think they eventually will get there. Again, as we record this on Sunday night, I don't believe Pinto has come anywhere close to asking for a trade."
It appears a Pinto return to Long Island is nowhere as of right now, but Lou Lamoriello wouldn't be doing his due diligence if he weren't reaching out to Ottawa to get a feel of the situation.