Vinnie Hinostroza is no stranger to Chicago or the Blackhawks.
The 27-year-old forward grew up in Bartlett, Illinois, and was a sixth-round draft pick of the Blackhawks in 2012. Hinostroza appeared in 106 games for the Blackhawks over parts of three seasons from 2015-2018, posting 13 goals and 26 assists.
In July of 2018, Hinostroza was part of a seven-player trade that ended his first stint in Chicago. The deal most notably relieved the Blackhawks of Marian Hossa’s contract after a skin condition prematurely ended his playing career, but Hinostroza and defenseman Jordan Oesterle joined the Coyotes as well.
Hinostroza played two seasons in the desert before signing with the Florida Panthers as a free agent last offseason. His time in the Sunshine State did not last long, however, as he only played nine games for the Panthers before the Blackhawks reacquired him in a trade last Friday.
After making the 19-hour drive from Florida to Chicago instead of flying in order to shorten his required quarantine period, Hinostroza joined the team and was added to the active roster after Lucas Wallmark cleared waivers.
Hinostroza did not record a point during his brief stint in Florida, where he averaged under ten minutes of ice time per game, but he will likely have an opportunity to play a larger role with the Blackhawks. And that type of opportunity is exactly what he’s looking for.
“I just want an opportunity, a fair chance, and with my work and how I play, I think I can earn some time,” Hinostroza told Chicago media members upon returning to the Blackhawks.
“Things didn’t go how I wanted in Florida, but I know I have a lot of game left in me. I’m excited to be here, play my game and do whatever I can for this team.”
Hinostroza will have a chance to prove his worth from the get-go. Following the Blackhawks morning skate today, head coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed that Hinostroza will enter the lineup against the Stars in place of Matthew Highmore.
Coach Colliton did not confirm exactly where Hinostroza will slot into the Blackhawks lineup, but the newly acquired forward did skate with Dominik Kubalik and Philipp Kurashev on the second line during the team’s practice on Monday.
Will Vinnie Hinostroza provide a spark for a Blackhawks team that has lost ten of their last 14 games? Only time will tell, but he certainly brings a strong work ethic and an element of speed that could help the Blackhawks generate additional rush chances.