Next up in our annual prospect review and forecast series is Brian Pinho, forward for the Hershey Bears. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page in the top menu or 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). The Capitals re-signed Pinho to a two-year deal on September 17, 2020. Pinho is an unrestricted free agent this off-season.
Pinho, who turned 27 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 his 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%.
Pinho played in just 12 games in the 2020-21 season – two for the Capitals and 10 for the Hershey Bears. He recorded eight goals in 10 games for the Bears. The remainder of his time was spent on the Capitals taxi squad.
The 2021-22 season was very similar to the previous season in that Pinho suffered two significant injuries that limited his playing time. As a result, he would play in just 27 games, recording eight goals and nine assists.
2021-2022 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Brian Pinho during the 2021-2022 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
The Providence College alum failed to tally a goal in October. Pinho has yet to find his groove, offensively, but has still contributed four assists. He started the tic-tac-toe passing play that resulted in Mike Sgarbossa’s opening goal against Cleveland on October 31. The native of North Andover, Massachusetts is one of Hershey’s top penalty killers. This was on display in the final game of the month against Cleveland on Halloween. The Bears started overtime on the penalty kill and the penalty killers got stuck on the ice for a long shift. Pinho deflected a pass and then dove to knock the puck down the ice. The play allowed Hershey to change penalty killers. The Bears would kill off the penalty and eventually win the game.
Pinho was injured in the first game of the month. In the second period of the Bears tilt with the Springfield Thunderbirds he would absorb a hit along the boards on his left side. He would not return to the game and missed the remainder of the month with a “lower body injury”.
This season is critical for Pinho to make his case for a bottom six position with the Capitals. He’s spent extended time with the Capitals in recent years, but at 26, and with other bottom six forward prospects surging, the time is starting to run out for Pinho.
Pinho missed the entire month of December with an injury. He has not suited up for the Bears since November 5 at Springfield, the game he was injured.
Pinho has now been out for Hershey’s last 18 games.
Pinho finally returned to the lineup on January 9 after missing 22 games due to injury. It took Pinho a little time to get going and he was held off of the scoresheet in his first two games back.
The Providence College product tallied shorthanded late in the first period against Bridgeport on January 12 for his first goal of the season.
Another shorty! This time Brian Pinho records his first goal of the season. He is in his second game back after being out since November 5. (22 games) Nice setup by AJF. #HBH pic.twitter.com/tqzsZY9jZ6
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) January 13, 2022
Pinho picked up his first shorthanded assist of the season in his next game. He started a play that resulted in a shorthanded marker by Axel Jonsson-Fjallbby in the first period against Toronto on January 15. Pinho netted his second goal of the season on January 22 against Hartford. He wristed a low shot past Keith Kinkaid late in the first.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) January 23, 2022
During the second period of that game, Pinho took a shot off of the ear and left the ice bloodied. He did not return to the contest and then missed the next two games. Pinho reentered the lineup on January 29 and skated in the last two Hershey games of the month. He finished the month with two goals and two assists.
Pinho compiled more points in February than he had in the rest of the season. He entered the month with eight points on the season, but scored nine points in February. He was tied for the second most points on the team with Lucas Johansen. The Providence College product netted a team-high six goals during the month.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) February 12, 2022
Pinho tallied a shorthanded game-winner in Bridgeport on February 19. He worked a give-and-go with Lucas Johansen and wristed a shot low to the glove side of Bridgeport goalie Jakub Skarek.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) February 20, 2022
Pinho has netted a goal in three of his last four games. He stepped up offensively for a team missing several key forwards.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) February 26, 2022
Pinho would also add an empty net goal at the end of the game.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) February 26, 2022
Pinho suffered an upper body injury and missed the last game of the month.
Pinho skated in one game for the Bears in March, against Charlotte on March 2, prior to being sidelined with a shoulder injury.
On March 14, the team announced that Pinho underwent successful shoulder surgery and is out indefinitely. Given the lateness of the surgery, Pinho is likely done for the season. He will finish the season with 17 points in 27 games.
Pinho missed the entire month after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in March. The Providence College alum skated in only 27 games this season due to a variety of injuries.
Pinho finished the season with eight goals and nine assists. He is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and it is possible that he has played his last game as a member of the Hershey Bears.
This past season was to be a “make-it-or-break it” season for Pinho, but unfortunately the two significant injuries that he suffered greatly limited his playing time. We saw what Pinho is capable of producing in February, but the remainder of the season was essentially a wash.
Pinho is an unrestricted free agent this off-season and will likely test the waters and possibly find a more appealing situation, or a least find an organization where he perceives a better/easier path to playing time in the NHL. The Capitals and Bears would love to have his offense return next season, but the choice is up to Pinho.
By Jon Sorensen
Checkers Beat Bears 5-4, Brian Pinho Scores Two Goals
Brian Pinho’s Offensive Rise a Boost For Hershey
Brian Pinho Scores Two Goals in Bears 5-4 Shootout Victory Over Sound Tigers
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)