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Thursday Links, News and Notes: Shane Pinto is “Reaching” New Heights

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Plus the latest on Artyom Zub, Olle Alsing and Viktor Lodin!

NHL: JUN 29 Ottawa Senators Development Camp Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I hope all of you are reading this Thursday edition of Links, News and Notes while in good health, and staying as safe as the Senators during the 1st round of a draft!

  • Updates around the league continue to flow in due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was announced yesterday that the Scouting Combine, NHL draft, and NHL Awards have been postponed until further notice. I would expect these events to be rescheduled based on the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, which could extend into and past the summer.

  • In more exciting news, center prospect Shane Pinto has been named this year’s NCHC Rookie of the Year. With 16 goals and 12 assists in 33 games with North Dakota, the 32nd pick of the 2019 NHL draft beat out Western Michigan defensemen Ronnie Attard, as well as goalie Magnus Chrona and highly-touted forward Bobby Brink from Denver. What’s fascinating about Pinto is that he didn’t start playing competitive hockey until age 15; improving in a short amount of time to a level high enough to be selected in the 2nd round of the NHL draft is no small feat. He’s continuing his rapid development this season as well. As you may recall, Pinto was seen as a reach at pick #32, as Brink, the 34th overall selection, was projected as a much more promising player. Today, the gap between the two is practically gone.

  • KHL defensemen Artyom Zub is in the midst of a career year with SKA St. Petersburg, and is looking at starting an NHL career next season. The 24-year-old has been linked to the Senators for a while now, and Darren Dreger reported yesterday that Zub has narrowed his list of teams down to two, one of which is the Ottawa Senators, and will be making a final decision in the coming weeks. A right-shot defensemen like Zub would be a welcome addition to a thin blueline, and the opportunity for big minutes is definitely there, as the Senators currently don’t have any NHL-ready right-handed defenders aside from Nikita Zaitsev and potentially Christian Jaros. The Athletic has compiled an impressive collection of footage to complement their analysis of Zub’s game; they highlight his aggressiveness in the neutral and defensive zones, as well as his skating and affinity for clean outlet passes. His main weaknesses are his limited creativity in the offensive zone, and that his aggressive style of play can put him out of position.

  • One player confirmed to be playing for the Senators’ organization in 2021 is defensemen Olle Alsing. The 23-year-old from Uppsala, Sweden, signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Senators after the 2018-19 season, and played in the SHL on loan this season, totalling 20 points in 36 games with Djurgardens IF. Alsing is expected to line up on the left side of Belleville’s back end, potentially alongside Jacob Bernard-Docker or Lassi Thomson. Additionally, 2019 4th round-pick Viktor Lodin announced yesterday that he won’t be back with the SHL’s Orebro HK next season, implying that he may sign either an entry-level or AHL-only deal with the Senators, and also report to Belleville for 2020-21. Lodin, with only 4 points in 22 games in the SHL, doesn’t seem like anything more than a bottom-six forward in the making, but there will be room in Belleville for him to contribute.

  • Which NHL team do you guys think made this suggestion? My money’s on the New York Rangers.

It’s safe to say Senators fans are just fine with the current format, as we currently have the highest odds of landing the #1 overall pick. Twenty-five percent is still really low, however. I really don’t want to get people’s hopes up, only to set them up for unparalleled disappointment, so it’s best that we-

So, #11’s retired, so to what number is he going to switch?