Washington Capitals Prospect Review and Forecast: Brian Pinho

Photo: Tori Hartman

We continue breaking-down the last 12 months for each of the Washington Capitals prospects with an annual review and forecast for centerman/right winger, Brian Pinho. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)

The Capitals selected Pinho, 24, with the 174th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2013 NHL Draft. The 6’-1”, right handed forward signed a two-year entry-level contract on April 4, 2018 for $833,750 average annual value (AAV). He will be a restricted free agent on July 1, 2019.

Pinho played all four years at Providence College, increasing his offensive output each of the first three seasons. The 2016-2017 season was his statistical high-water mark, where he was also selected as the team’s Alternate Captain.

Pinho joined the Capitals on April 4th, 2018, but would soon return to Providence College to complete graduation.

Pinho attended his sixth Capitals development camp at the end of the June, 2018. He centered the top line for the White Team in this year’s camp scrimmage, where he registered a goal and an assist in the game.

Pinho was relatively quiet for a majority of the season, but there seemed to be a late wake up call in March, April and May. There was a noticeable improvement in his play with and away from the puck, and overall presence on the ice.

Pinho, in his first year away from college may have just needed a little more time to get comfortable with life away from home and the game at the AHL level. It’s difficult to say, but it will be interesting to see how the first half of the 2019-2020 season goes for #28.

His contract expires in July.

The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Brian Pinho during the 2018-2019 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.

It has been a quiet start to Pinho’s professional career. He is off to a slow start offensively, having only one goal (here) through 11 games. That can happen to a rookie at the start of his career. More surprisingly, Pinho has struggled defensively. He is a center who is known for being a strong player in his own zone. He was named Hockey East’s Best Defensive Forward last season while at Providence and also earned the Frank Jones Award as New England’s Best Defensive Forward. He is a minus-6 on the season and has been a plus player only once this season. That is not what Hershey or Washington expected out of Pinho. He needs to get back to doing the little things right in his own zone. Once he corrects that end of his game, Pinho’s offense will follow. Despite his struggles, he still plays hard every night and contributes on the penalty kill.

Trending: Down

After a rough start defensively in October, Pinho has settled down and has played better in his own end. He has looked more like the player who was the named the top collegiate defensive forward in New England last season. He was a minus-7 in October, but is a minus-1 for this month (was even until being a minus-1 in the final game of the month). Pinho has continued to struggle offensively. He has one assist in the month and is still stuck on one goal for the season. He has not scored a goal in 14 games. One constant for Pinho is his effort. He plays hard every night out and has appeared in every game for Hershey. The Providence College grad also sees time on the penalty kill.

Trending: Same

After being a minus-7 in the first two months of the season, Pinho bounced back with a plus-4 in December. That is what was expected out of him coming out of Providence College, where he was one of the best defensive forwards in college hockey. He has been much better in his own zone. He has back-checked better and played more responsibly. Offensively, Pinho is still struggling to find his game. He recorded two assists in December and has four points on the season. He is another player that Hershey needs more from offensively.

Trending: Up

Pinho has been playing a lot on the right wing lately, with Hershey’s lack of depth in that position. He has taken to the move well. He entered January with a single goal, but scored twice in the month to increase his goal total to three. He added an assist as well. Three points in a month may not seem like much, but it is the highest point total Pinho has put up in a month this season. It is a step in the right direction for the rookie from Providence.

Trending: Up

The rookie out of Providence College sees time at both center and right wing. He had two assists in February to bring his season point total to nine. While his offensive game at the professional level is still developing, Pinho has played well in his own zone. He has shown why he was the top defensive forward in Hockey East last season. After being a minus-10 earlier in the season, the pivot has improved to a minus-3. He has only been a minus player in two of his last 23 games. Pinho has also started to see more time on the penalty kill.

Trending: Up

Pinho tallied only a single assist in the month of March, but his play in his own end has continued to improve. He has showed why he was named the top defensive forward in Hockey East and in all of New England during his senior year at Providence College. In his last 33 games, Pinho has only been a minus player three times. He makes smart decisions in his own end and is a good back-checker. The North Andover, Massachusetts native has also seen his time on the penalty kill increase.

Trending: Up


At 24, time is already something to consider with Pinho’s development, but the late season uptick with Hershey in 2019 was an encouraging sign. The series-winning goal against Bridgeport in the post season (here) came  at the end of a game in which he was possibly the best Bear, offensively.

As noted earlier, the coming season will be critical in his development for the potential of reaching the next level. His hockey smarts are sufficient and he has the skillset to potentially crack a bottom six roll with Washington, if his game continues to improve. The Capitals/Bears began to use Pinho on the wing, to some success in 2019. This will likely continue.

As noted earlier, Pinho’s two-year entry-level contract expires on July 1. It will be interesting to see if/how much (money and time) the Capitals invest in Pinho. Have they seen enough to invest for three more years?

Bears Fall To Checkers 4-3 (SO); Brian Pinho, Shane Gersich Score First AHL Goals
Brian Pinho Reports To Caps, Alex Ovechkin Absent
Washington Capitals Prospect Review and Forecast (2018)

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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