Intelligent playmaking center with great vision and slick hands. Projects as a play driving top-six pivot at the NHL level if he can add some pace to his game and tighten up his stride.
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February 2023 – This season has not been kind to the Kitchener Rangers who sit eighth in the OHL’s Western Conference with a 25-26-4 record. But the captain has been a bright spot for the team with 73 points in just 48 appearances this year. With 34 of those tallies being goals, Pinelli is on pace for well over 40 on the year and well eclipsing the 22 he had in 2021-22. All signs point towards Pinelli turning pro following the conclusion of Kitchener’s season and he has the tools to excel with a strong defensive game to go along with the newfound offensive prowess. While Pinelli could be a longer shot to crack the Kings roster out of training camp in the fall, he will undoubtedly be one to watch as he works his way through the organization’s depth chart. He projects as a strong two-way centre with goal-scoring upside, so he could be well worth a stash in dynasty formats, especially those that reward faceoff dominance. Sean Crocker
June 2022 – The Kings inked their second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to a three-year entry-level deal, which will kick in at the start of the 2022-23 season. Pinelli has come a long way since falling to the Kings, spending the pandemic season in Slovenia which helped to tighten up his overall game. Returning to Kitchener in 2021-22, Pinelli showed this progress in his game by establishing himself as an elite two-way centre in the OHL.
Like a Swiss army knife, Pinelli possesses a complete toolbox which allows him to transition the puck and get into the play deep in the offensive zone but is never out of position when backchecking. The responsibility and growth in his game is beyond his age which bodes well for this upcoming season. Not many players in his age group can scan the entire ice the way he does, and this allows him to be an efficient player in transition and when finding a seam in the offensive zone for a cross-ice pass. Pinelli will be a player to watch in training camp as the Kings will want to get a good look at the 20-year-old in action. If he has a strong camp, he could find himself in a bottom to middle-six role as the season wears on, but a stint in the AHL would certainly not hurt his development. Sean Crocker
July 2021 – The Los Angeles Kings traded up to select Pinelli in the second round, 42nd overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. Nick Richard
February 2021 – Pinelli had a strong rookie season with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL, posting 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points in 59 games. The Hamilton native was slated for a bigger role this season but with the OHL on hold due to the pandemic, he was loaned out to HDD Jesenice in Slovenia. He got on the board in just his second game overseas, scoring a beautiful game-winning goal in the dying seconds.
Pinelli is a highly intelligent playmaker who is constantly scanning the play in preparation for his next move, with or without the puck. He has a cerebral sense of spacing in the offensive zone and attacks free ice at opportune times, making himself available for passes or creating scoring chances for his teammates with quick feeds in tight. He takes good routes in puck pursuit but also reads pressure well, knowing when to back off and take up a defensive posture as the high man. Pinelli is a slick puck handler who can beat the first man to create more space and better passing lanes to complete passes to his teammates, consistently getting pucks into high danger areas in the offensive zone. Though he is more effective as a passer, Pinelli has a quick release and can finish on his own as well. He isn’t the smoothest skater and though he is able to slow the game down at times, he will need to add a bit more pace to his game in order to reach his potential as a top-six pivot at the NHL level. Nick Richard
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