After inking Shane Gersich earlier today, the Washington Capitals have now re-signed another restricted free agent. Brian Pinho has signed a one-year two-way contract for 2019-20, which will pay him $700K in the NHL and $100K in the AHL.
Pinho, 24, was originally selected in the sixth round in 2013 but wouldn’t join the Capitals organization for another five years. After playing one year in the USHL and four years at Providence College, Pinho signed his two-year entry-level contract with Washington last April and burned the first year without even suiting up. This season then was his first taste of professional hockey, and he found out it’s a little more difficult to produce at this level. In 81 total games for the Hershey Bears, Pinho recorded just 14 points.
Still, there was a reason why the Capitals allowed him to burn a year without actually playing. Pinho could have waited until August 2018 to become an unrestricted free agent, something the Capitals front office obviously wanted to avoid. Even as a late-round pick, Pinho had built himself into a legitimate NHL prospect after recording 72 points in 79 games over his last two college seasons.
Though his totals at the minor league were less than impressive, it’s not time to give up on Pinho just yet. He’ll be given another chance to adjust to the pace of the professional game, and hopefully find his footing in the AHL. Like with Gersich, the Capitals have to be hoping they can squeeze some inexpensive NHL contributions out of players like this as they navigate a tricky salary cap situation.