It’s the league’s first gambling-related suspension in the era of online betting.
Pinto is an unsigned restricted free agent and hasn’t played a game for the Senators this season. The 22-year-old had been skating on his own in Ottawa earlier this month while awaiting a new contract. He has since returned home to Long Island, N.Y.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 26, 2023
The Senators released a statement shortly after the NHL’s decision was announced, saying they were aware of the investigation and had provided additional information to the league.
Pinto apologized for his actions in a statement released by the Senators.
“I want to apologize to the National Hockey League, the Ottawa Senators, my teammates, the fans and city of Ottawa and most importantly my family. I take full responsibility for my actions and look forward to getting back on the ice with my team.”
Pinto was a second-round pick by the Senators in 2019. He became a regular in the NHL last season, scoring 20 goals and 35 points in 82 games.
The suspension will retroactively be set to begin on the first game of the Senators’ season, and Pinto does not plan to appeal it. He won’t be able to return to the lineup until Jan. 21 in Philadelphia — Ottawa’s 42nd game.
As a 10.2(c) RFA, Pinto has very limited rights in free agency but does not need to be under contract by Dec. 1 in order to be eligible to play during the 2023-24 season, as Group 2 RFAs do.
The Senators haven’t previously had enough cap space to sign Pinto, but that shouldn’t be an issue now. According to multiple sources, he’s expected to sign a contract in January after the suspension is served, so he won’t count against the cap until then.
“When the time is right and with the league’s blessing, we will welcome him back to the organization and embrace him as one of our own.” the Senators said in a statement.
Exhibit 14.2 of the NHL’s collective-bargaining agreement states: “Gambling on any NHL Game is prohibited.” The league’s constitution allows gambling on other sports.
(Photo of Shane Pinto: Richard A. Whittaker / Getty Images)