The Washington Capitals have signed forward Brian Pinho, the team’s 2013 sixth-round draft pick, to a two-year, entry-level contract beginning this season. Pinho’s contract will carry an average annual value of $833,750, and he’s expected to join the Capitals today.
Washington is burning the first year of Pinho’s entry-level deal by signing him now, but that was likely the cost of not losing an asset. Pinho recently finished his senior season at Providence College, and had he graduated, he could have held out until Aug. 15 and become an unrestricted free agent, a move teams are more and more fearful of since Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey opted for that route two years ago after initially being drafted by the Nashville Predators.
The Capitals drafted center Thomas DiPauli with their 2012 fourth-round pick, and after he graduated from Notre Dame, he waited to become an unrestricted free agent, then signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pinho is the second college player the Capitals have signed in the past month, as Shane Gersich joined the team less than two weeks ago, shortly after the completion of his junior season at North Dakota. With two regular-season games left, Gersich has played his way into the competition for postseason playing time, and it’s unclear if Pinho will have the same opportunity. The Capitals currently have four extra forwards and two extra defensemen on the roster.
Pinho, 22, scored 12 goals and 20 assists in 40 games with Providence College this past season. He was the Friars’ captain and the team’s second-highest goal scorer. Pinho was named Hockey East’s Best Defensive Forward. He finished his NCAA career with 115 points (39 goals and 76 assists) in 156 games.
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