The Coyotes added a much-needed right-shot forward and a depth defenseman on Thursday as part of a complex, seven-player trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Vinnie Hinostroza, who has notched 13 goals in 106 NHL games, is a winger Arizona General Manager John Chayka believes will fit in well on the roster.
“Hinostroza is a right shot with speed and skill,” Chayka said. “He’s rated as one of the top undervalued players in the league … We think very highly of Vinnie Hinostroza. His future is excellent and he’ll be a big part of what we do here.”
Hinostroza averaged 13:49 of ice time for Chicago last season and ranked 10th on the team with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in a career-high 50 games.
“I think he plays at a super high pace, one of the highest paces in the league,” Chayka said. “He’s skilled, he’s smart and he reads the game extremely well and when he gets out in open ice, he can make a lot of things happen. He’s constantly on the puck, constantly pressuring the puck.”
Hinostroza, a Chicago area native, said he was “kind of shocked” by the trade but is excited to join Arizona as it continues its rebuild. He has friends on the Coyotes, including Christian Fischer and Christian Dvorak, also Chicago area natives.
“Right away I know I was very excited to join such a young team,” Hinostroza said. “… Just talking to (Fischer), I know it’s a great place, he loves it there, it’s a great organization with a lot of great, young players, so I’m really excited to be a part of the future there.”
The Coyotes are confident Hinostroza, 24, can produce even more offense than last season given more ice time.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity that I’m going to be given and I’m going to keep earning with hard work,” Hinostroza said. “I’m not going there thinking anything is going to be given to me, I’m coming in with my hard work ethic, and I just want to use my skill and speed and just be a great teammate … Last year, I kind of let go of all expectations. I knew I belonged in the league and I knew I could play my game and help the team win. So, that’s kind of what I tried to do. No matter if I made a mistake or not, I just kept my foot to the gas pedal and just tried to play my own game and that definitely helped me a lot last year.”
Arizona also acquired defenseman Jordan Oesterle, a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and the rights to Marian Hossa’s contract.
“I think one thing we realized last year is that we really like our ‘D,'” Chayka said. “We think when they’re healthy and playing, they’re toe-to-toe with any group on the back end. I think what we found is, whenever injuries occured, we didn’t have the depth to sustain and continue to keep that as kind of the heartbeat of our team. So, obviously if it’s an area that we feel strongly about, we want to continue to add depth to it. This was just an opportunity where a guy came available, he’s playing 20 minutes a night, a lot of times in the top pairing with (Duncan) Keith there in Chicago. For us, I don’t see him being paired with (Oliver) Ekman-Larsson, but at the same time, he’s a very effective player that can step in and play some meaningful minutes.”
Regarding Oesterle, 26, who has played 80 NHL games for Edmonton (25) and then Chicago (55), the Coyotes envision him competing for the seventh defenseman slot on the depth chart.
“He’s a puck-moving defenseman,” Chayka said. “For us to play fast we have to break the puck out and he does that effectively and efficiently. It’s not a glamorous game, but it’s very effective.”
Hossa, of course, retired before last season because of a skin disorder and will not play for Arizona or any NHL team again. The Coyotes are expected to place Hossa on long-term injured reserve when the season begins and are responsible for the annual salary cap charge associated with the final three years of Hossa’s contract.
To acquire the aforementioned assets, Arizona sent center Marcus Kruger, minor leaguers Andrew Campbell and Jordan Maletta, prospect MacKenzie Entwistle and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft to Chicago.