Chicago Blackhawks Roundtable: Vinnie Hinostroza And Shutouts

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 23: Vinnie Hinostroza
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 23: Vinnie Hinostroza /
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SAN JOSE, CA – JANUARY 31: Vinnie Hinostroza
SAN JOSE, CA – JANUARY 31: Vinnie Hinostroza /

Kirk Bennett

Question 1: I admit that I am probably biased on this subject as I have liked Vinnie’s game since he was first given a sniff with the Blackhawks in 2015. In a previous roundtable discussion, I stated why I thought Blackhawks got it wrong when they assigned Hinostroza to Rockford to begin this season, and my stance has not changed.

However, since only a few roster players can be demoted to Rockford who are waiver exempt, promoting Hino at this time is a tad more complex. I doubt that any one of Ryan Hartman, John Hayden, Alex DeBrincat, Jan Rutta or Gustav Forsling will be sent down at this stage, hence the dilemma that to make room for Hino a player on the roster must be waived. The logical choice would be Jordan Oesterle, but can Blackhawks risk losing a depth defenseman?

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I think that ‘Hawks will remain status quo with the hope that the shutout win against Philadelphiamarks a turnaround for this team. A rethink could come this week following the team’s performance last weekend.

Question 2: No doubt that a bright spot for Chicago this season has been the goaltending of Corey Crawford. Backup Anton Forsberg has also played well despite his lower numbers. That said, Blackhawks have relied too much on the guy between the pipes in this young season.

The team average of 34.5 shots against per game, which is third-worst in the NHL, needs to improve, but I don’t foresee many shutouts in the current campaign. My guess is three team shutouts in total for the season.

Randy Holndoner

Question 1: Yes, I would bring Hinostroza up, and send Tanner Kero down.  He’s played in only six games, and unless there is an injury, I think the centers are set for this team.  Where you stick Vinnie is up to Q, since he is the line-shuffling dealer.

Question 2: Last year, the Blackhawks had four shutouts while giving up more than 30 shots per game.  This year, they are giving up even more shots, with two-thirds of the defensive unit either new or not having put in a full NHL season.

Corey Crawford will do Crawford things and should eke out one or two more shutouts on the season, with two under his belt already.  Anton Forsberg is getting his first chance to play as a backup at the NHL level for a full season.  He’s had good and bad games.  He may get one, but only if the Blackhawks play some shutdown defense.  I think the ‘Hawks will end up with four shutouts on the season.