First-line left wing has been a revolving door early this season for the Chicago Blackhawks
With Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville pulling out the line blender more rapidly this season than in years past, the Blackhawks’ forwards have seen several different looks.
Quenneville has already gone to his nuclear option of pairing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the top line. Since Toews and Kane have been paired together, we have yet to constant a fixture on the wing opposite Kane.
Hartman was the latest guy to be tried until Vincent Hinostroza got the call in the third period Sunday against Montreal. Hinostroza, who has barely played this season, provided the Blackhawks’ top line a different feel.
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Hinostroza offers upside
Hinostroza added some more quickness and some nifty stick handling skills to that line. He also was willing to go win battles in the corners and had an active stick. He kept several shifts deep in the Canadiens zone with his active stick.
He has been known throughout his Juniors and college careers, as well as in his stint in the AHL, as an aggressive forechecker. His forecheck was on display Sunday night.
Hinostroza made a great play to give Kane a scoring chance right before his “highlight-reel” goal. Now, Hinostroza did not record any points on the evening, but it was obvious that when he joined Kane and Toews that line had more “jump” to it. The top line had numerous scoring chances in the third period but failed to capitalize.
It might appear the Blackhawks have found a temporary home for Hinostroza, which is a good thing. Hinoztroza has been riding the bench for the most of the season while Jordin Tootoo has been seeing time, which in my mind is a waste.
If the Blackhawks have Hinostroza on the roster, they should play him or send him back to Rockford. He should not be allowed to wallow on the bench and waste his talents.
A temporary home?
Despite the brief stint of success Sunday, the top line will likely be a temporary home for Hinostroza because of two reasons.
One, Coach Quenneville likes to changes lines all the time. The second reason is that when Tyler Motte returns from injury, he should be given the spot on the top line. But Hinostroza should start Tuesday night’s game in Winnipeg on the top line.
It appears that will be the case against the Jets, who are running pretty well so far this season and sit in second place in the Central Division.