Vinnie Hinostroza’s game has reached another level.
The 24-year-old forward has 12 points in his last 12 games after scoring a hat trick in the Arizona Coyotes’ 6-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. The Coyotes hoped for this when they acquired him in a trade from Chicago before the season, a season in which Hinostroza has set career highs in goals, assists, points and average time on ice.
“[General manager] John [Chayka], I remember when he called me when we made the deal, he said, ‘This guy’s got high-level talent and potential,’ right? And he’s really getting a chance,” head coach Rick Tocchet said. “I’ve played him more the last five weeks than I did at the beginning of the year, and he’s earned it.
“There’s offense to his game in the sense that he can shoot the puck. We’re on him to shoot the puck more, but when he does, he can shoot the puck.”
Hinostroza scored two first-period goals and another in the third for his first NHL hat trick on Thursday.
“I’m excited obviously,” Hinostroza said. “I haven’t scored three goals in a game since probably junior. That’s something you don’t think about happening, but when it does, it’s definitely something special. And it’s nice that it comes in a win in a special time when we’re trying to hold a playoff spot here. So I’m really happy with the full team effort.”
Since Jan. 20, Hinostroza has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points in 24 games played.
“I think it’s just finding a way to be consistent,” Hinostroza said. “Finding that daily routine when you get to the rink, it’s doing the same thing every day. I found that helps me, and as you mature as a player, you learn how to take care of your body away from the rink so you can play the game more consistently — whether it’s working out or stretching, it all helps.”
One of Hinostroza’s greatest strengths is his speed, but he’s also been able to gain more discernment on when to use that speed.
“It’s great. He’s picked up his game and he’s just playing great with [Michael Grabner] and [Brad Richardson],” defenseman Jason Demers said. “They’re kind of the engine for our forward unit. He’s just been playing great and he’s getting rewarded now, and he’s going the right things, and he plays so hard.”