The Chicago Blackhawks continue to tweak their roster after a sluggish start to the season. Much of Chicago’s struggles have come from the bottom two lines and the Hawks have made a move to address their depth.
Chicago sent down right wing Kyle Baun to Rockford and brought up center Vincent Hinostroza. Baun had been relatively ineffective in just two regular season games with the Blackhawks after putting out a strong training camp and preseason. He was a -2 in last night’s loss to the Washington Capitals. Head coach Joel Quenneville typically takes a long time to warm up to youngsters and Baun received just 9:10 of average ice time, the least amount of average ice time on the team.
Hinostroza is a Chicago native and was another prospect who opened some eyes with a strong preseason and training camp. He ultimately lost the competition to Baun, but will get a chance to prove he can play at the professional level. The 21-year old recorded one assist and a -2 rating in two games with the IceHogs at the beginning of the season.
The Blackhawks are hoping Hinostroza can provide a spark along the third and fourth line. Chicago hasn’t gotten much production from anyone not named Patrick Kane or Artemi Panarin. Thirteen of Chicago’s 27 points have come from the second line of Kane, Panarin and center Artem Anisimov. Depth players Bryan Bickell, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Desjardins, Ryan Garbutt, Viktor Tikhonov and Baun all have not gotten on the scoresheet through the first five games.
Hinostroza has spent the past two seasons playing for the University of Notre Dame. He scored 19 goals and tallied 57 assists in two seasons with the Fighting Irish.
The Blackhawks are still looking for continuity around the ice. Chicago’s defensive corps have been messy through the first two games. Kyle Cumiskey was signed to a 1-year contract earlier in the week, but was sent back down to Rockford on Friday.
The Blackhawks are 2-3-0 through the first five games of the season and are coming off of a two-game road trip during which they were outscored 7-1 and were not overly competitive. The Blackhawks will need to rack up some early points considering five out of the seven Central Division teams have three wins already. Chicago will need to separate itself from the pack with depth and the Hawks are hoping the homegrown kid can be an impactful player for his hometown team.
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