Next up in our annual prospect review and forecast series is Brian Pinho, center for the Hershey Bears. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
The Washington Capitals selected Pinho 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, who turns 25 on May 11, played 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 school and graduation. He attended his sixth Capitals development camp at the end of the June, 2018 where he centered the top line for the White Team in the camp scrimmage, registering a goal and an assist in the game.
Pinho was relatively quiet for a majority of the 2018-2019 season, but there seemed to be a late wake-up call in March, April and May, as there was a noticeable improvement in his play with and away from the puck, and overall presence on the ice.
The 2019-2020 season was somewhat of a breakout season for “Pins”. He recorded 20 goals, 17 assists and was a +16 in 62 games before the season was suspended. He was second on the Bears in goals and fourth in total points for the season. He was excellent on the penalty kill, and led the Bears in shorthanded goals with three. He recorded 132 shots for a season shooting percentage of 15.1%.
2019-2020 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2019-2020 season. You can find all of our weekly and monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
The second-year product of Providence College began the season playing on right wing. He went scoreless in his first three games. The North Andover, Massachusetts native was moved back to center and was teamed with Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Beck Malenstyn on a formidable fourth-line, a move that has proven to be productive for all three players. Pinho went on a four-game point streak from October 13 to October 19, posting a goal and four assists during the streak. He went scoreless in his final two games of the month, but is on pace to surpass the 12 points he scored last season. Pinho also sees a lot of time on the penalty kill.
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Pinho’s offensive numbers dropped in November after a productive October. The month started well for the Providence College product. He had an assist in the first game of the month and then scored a goal in the second. He failed to record a point in his next nine games. The North Andover, Massachusetts native broke through with a goal against Providence on November 27 to stop his scoreless drought. Pinho is one of the team’s top penalty killers, but his play at even-strength has dropped, finishing as a minus-6 for the month, a bad number for a player who is usually a solid defensive forward. Pinho caught fire at the end of last season, and had a very good prospect tournament and training camp, and should find his offensive game soon.
Pinho only had three points in November, but he turned up his offensive production in December. The Providence College product tallied four goals (equaling his total of from all of last season) and dished out four assists. Two of his goals came on tips in front of the net. He now has six goals and nine assists, surpassing the four goals and eight assists he had last season. The North Andover, Massachusetts native picked up his even-strength play. After being a minus-6 in November, he was plus-4 for December. He broke up a scoring chance by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Anthony Angelo on the back check. Pinho is also one of the team’s top penalty killers and is one of the reasons the unit has risen to second in the AHL. For the season, Pinho has six goals and nine assists in 33 games played. He’s shot the puck 63 times for a shooting percentage of 9.5% on the season.
A natural center, Pinho has been playing on the right wing on Hershey’s top line with Phillipe Maillet and Matt Moulson. The move has been good for Pinho. The Providence College grad has become an offensive threat. He potted seven goals in January and amassed four assists. Pinho sits fourth on the team in scoring with 26 points and is third on the team with 13 goals. The North Andover, Massachusetts native has already surpassed is point total from last season by 14 points. He scored two game-winning goals in the month and now is tied for the team lead in that category with four. Pinho is also a key contributor on Hershey’ stellar penalty kill unit and is often one of the first two forwards over the boards when it is time to kill a penalty. For the season Pinho has 13 goals and 14 assists in 48 games played. He is fourth on the Bears in points and second in goals.
Pinho followed up his seven-goal January by potting five goals in February. His goal total stood at 18 after February, good for second on the team and 14 more than the four goals he scored as a rookie last season. The Providence College alum did not register an assist in the month, but still has six more assists on the season than he did last year. Pinho amassed 32 points for the season through February, 20 more than his 12 points as a rookie. The North Andover, Massachusetts native continues to be one of Hershey’s top penalty killers and is a big reason why that unit continues to be one of the AHL’s best. He netted his team-leading third shorthanded goal on a breakaway in the third period against Charlotte on February 25.
The series-winning goal against Bridgeport in the 2019 post season (here) came at the end of a game in which he was possibly the best Bear, offensively. Pinho essentially picked up where he left off for the 2019-2020 season, as he became an offensive leader and leader on the Bears penalty kill.
Time is already something to consider with Pinho’s development, but the late 2019 season uptick with Hershey and his 2019-2020 campaign are an encouraging sign. 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.
As noted earlier, Pinho’s current contract expires on July 1. It’s very likely the Capitals will try to ink him to a 1-2 year deal. The coming season will be critical in his development for the potential of reaching the next level.
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Washington Capitals Prospect Review and Forecast (2018)
By Jon Sorensen