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The Ottawa Senators are back and in training camp as they prepare for their pre-season games starting this Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Egor Sokolov is back under contract with the team and ready to participate fully in training camp. This leaves Pierre Dorion and the Senators management team with one remaining chore to complete this off-season, finalizing a Shane Pinto contract. In a press conference yesterday with DJ Smith, Dorion gave some insight into where things stand regarding a Shane Pinto contract. We also received some disheartening news about the health, or lack thereof, of Josh Norris.
Egor Sokolov Signs 1-Year $775K Contract
The Ottawa Senators and Egor Sokolov have finally agreed to terms on a 2-way, 1-year, $775,000 contract. This is a fair contract for Egor Sokolov and the Ottawa Senators, which took much longer to materialize than expected. While not official, it sounds as though the tough negotiations were primarily about Egor Sokolov’s AHL salary, now $120,000. As someone on the outside looking in, I am shocked that the Senators were as stubborn as they were over an AHL salary. Especially when Sokolov has been the MVP of the Belleville Senators for the last couple of years.
While this may be looking too deep into the numbers, I wonder if this signals that the team and/or Sokolov expect him to play this season in Belleville. While Egor Sokolov deserves a look in the bottom 6, this much scrutiny over an AHL salary makes me wonder if that’s where one or both parties expect him to play. Of course, Sokolov still controls his destiny going into camp. He could force himself into an NHL role if he can excel in the pre-season.
Josh Norris Injury Update
After not participating in the Ottawa Senators Golf Tournament on Tuesday, many fans started discussing if that meant he was not fully healthy. Fast forward to Pierre Dorion and DJ Smiths’ media availability on Wednesday, and we now have an official statement. When asked about the health of Josh Norris, Pierre Dorion discussed that he “tweaked” something in pre-camp skates.
Now, instinctively, it was assumed that the tweak was to Norris’ recently rehabbed shoulder. But Dorion was hesitant to confirm/deny whether this was the case. On the bright side, Pierre Dorion also noted that Norris’ injury was minor. If the season started tomorrow, Norris would be in. He wanted everybody to know that the team took every precaution possible with Josh Norris.
Dorion noted that Josh Norris will be given a yellow, non-contact jersey once again for the start of camp. He didn’t give an official date for Norris to be cleared but did mention he would be ready to go for the regular season.
As a fan, this was disheartening news, even though it does not appear overly serious, at least from the surface. After the entire off-season to recover from surgery, most people expected Josh Norris to be 100% healthy well before camp. Unfortunately, some injuries just don’t go away for some guys. Hopefully, this isn’t the case with Josh Norris, and this tweak is just a minor setback to his season.
Shane Pinto Contract Talks Heating Up
After some Shane Pinto trade discussions from the past week, it appears he will likely re-sign with Ottawa. Talks around Shane Pinto have dramatically heated up over the last 24 hours, and he will probably be signed within the next couple of days. For this to happen, someone still has to be shipped out the door, and the real question in my eyes is who that will be.
The original trade rumours were shut down on Insider Trading by Darren Dreger. “Teams have inquired on Shane Pinto, Philadelphia Flyers, other clubs. They are not trading him. He’s too key”. After this, Twitter began to blow up with countless tweets hinting that a Shane Pinto contract could be announced at any given moment. It is important to note that these tweets came from accounts that generally release reliable rumours.
Where there is smoke, there is fire, and the smoke is as thick as ever around a potential Shane Pinto contract. While I don’t have any indication of a specific timeline, I would closely monitor Shane Pinto and the Ottawa Senators over the next 24-48 hours.
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