Though it may come as no surprise to those who have followed him this season, Shane Pinto has officially informed the Ottawa Senators that he will be returning to the University of North Dakota for his sophomore season, according to Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald. Pinto, like several other high profile college players that have decided to return in recent weeks, indicated that abrupt ending to the season was “the biggest thing” affecting his decision.
The 19-year old Pinto was the 32nd overall pick in 2019 and a player that could have easily climbed into the first round. The 6’2″ center had just scored at more than a point-per-game pace in the USHL and has obvious NHL upside. He showed off that upside at the World Juniors where he recorded seven points (trailing only Trevor Zegras for the Team USA lead) and at UND where he scored 16 goals and 28 points as a freshman. He was named the NCHC Rookie of the Year for his efforts.
Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia chimed in on Twitter, indicating that the Senators had expected Pinto to return and further his development at UND. With that in mind, he’ll be a name to watch next spring when the college season is over as a potential early signing.