At the end of this past week, the Chicago Blackhawks forward was involved in a multi-player trade with the Arizona Coyotes. In the deal, the Arizona Coyotes receive Marian Hossa, Hinostroza, defenseman Jordan Oesterle and a 2019 3rd Round draft pick. In return, the Blackhawks receive forwards Marcus Kruger and Jordan Maletta, defenseman Andrew Campbell, the rights to MacKenzie Entwistle, and a 2019 5th Round draft pick.
Let’s break this down.
Marian Hossa is the main focus with this trade and what everyone is talking about. After all, he was a premier player in the league and should be a Hall of Famer. He had a lot of great years in Chicago but as everyone knows, he will not play again due to health issues. His contract was eating up cap space and severely handcuffing Chicago’s Front Office in regards to signing someone noteworthy that can help the team recover from a rather dismal 2017-18 season.
With Arizona taking Hossa’s salary and the cap hit (which they needed to make the salary cap minimum), it was apparent that they would need something else to make it worthwhile. What do they get? An up-and-coming forward with, I believe, a pretty good upside, and a young defenseman that had some good moments last season on a defensive squad that was pretty poor. The Coyotes get some speed in Hinostroza, a player that had quite a few good moments and can use his speed to be a playmaker. His 7 goals and 18 assists last year was a career high, as was his 50 games played.
The Blackhawks get the return of Marcus Kruger who really hasn’t done anything in the year that he was away from Chicago. About a point a month, actually. Now, I like Kruger. I liked him when he was coming up with the Hawks and he seemed to have some decent skill but wasn’t going to be lighting the lamp thirty times a season. He was a grinder, an energy guy. He isn’t going to help the Hawks and the scoring woes of last season (they were bottom third in the league in Goals For). A lot of this was due to the majority of the team having career-low or near career-low production seasons. The only real bright spot was Alex DeBrincat. And Patrick Kane was, well, Patrick Kane. Beyond that, they were feast or famine.
The other players that the Hawks received in the trade have minimal or no NHL experience at all. Other off-season signings are an again Cam Ward who can fill in as a backup to Corey Crawford, assuming that he returns healthy.
Brandon Manning hopes to come in and help shore up a pathetic blue line that did little to help the long list of backup goalies that were thrust into the spotlight after Crawford’s departure.
Chris Kunitz is the other notable signing thus far, and has played dwindling minutes each of the past few seasons. He does provide a versatility as he can play effectively up and down the four lines. Still, he isn’t the answer to the scoring drought that plagued the team last season and is projected to speed most of his time on the third or fourth line.
In truth, this trade was about helping the cap rather than helping the team directly. This is the type of thing that happens when half of your cap space is eaten up by 5 people (3 of which really didn’t earn their paychecks last season. Hawks fans can only hope they can use this newfound cap space to sign a free agent that can make things happen. There is some promise with the youth on the team, but thus far, it seems like no real advance has been made just yet. Kruger is excited to be back in Chicago and fans can hope that he puts that to a more productive season than he has recently.
Right now, I’m disappointed that Hinostroza won’t be on the ice for the Blackhawks but I do hope that he can take advantage of the opportunity that presents itself being on a team that seems to always be in rebuild mode. Should get some good ice time and to that I say, “Good luck, Vinnie!”