Getty Images

Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto has been suspended 41 games by the NHL for violating the league's gambling rules, according to a statement from the league. It is the league's first gambling-related suspension since online gambling began.

The league's investigation revealed that Pinto never bet on NHL games and considers the matter closed.

"I want to apologize to the National Hockey League, the Ottawa Senators, my teammates, the fans and city of Ottawa and most importantly my family," Pinto said in a statement. "I take full responsibility for my actions and look forward to getting back on the ice with my team."  

Pinto is currently a restricted free agent and has yet to sign a new deal. Up to this point, Pinto hadn't played in any games during the 2023-24 season.

"Shane is a valued member of our hockey club; an engaging, intelligent young man who made poor decisions that have resulted in a suspension by the National Hockey League," the Senators said in a statement. "We know he is remorseful for his mistakes.

"The Ottawa Senators fully support the NHL's rules on gambling. While saddened to learn of this issue, the entire organization remains committed to Shane and will work together to do what is necessary to help provide the support to allow him to address his issues and become a strong contributor to our community. When the time is right and with the league's blessing, we will welcome him back to the organization and embrace him as one of our own."

The Senators forward was working out on his own in Ottawa earlier this month while he waited to sign a new contract.

Despite being unsigned, Pinto's suspension will be retroactive to the first game of the Senators season, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. The suspension's beginning isn't dependent on him signing a contract with the team.

According to the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, gambling on any NHL game is prohibited. Players are permitted to gamble on other sports if they choose to do so.

Pinto was originally selected by the Senators in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft. The young center played his first full NHL season in 2022-23, registering 35 points (20 goals and 15 assists) in a full 82-game slate.

Pinto's situation is certainly an interesting one since players normally would need to be signed by Dec. 1 to play at all during the 2023-24 campaign. However, suspended players still count against the salary cap, and the Senators don't have the necessary salary cap space to sign Pinto to a low-scale contract.

It's currently unknown how exactly Pinto violated the league's gambling rules.