Chicago Blackhawks Roundtable: Vinnie Hinostroza And Shutouts

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 23: Vinnie Hinostroza
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 23: Vinnie Hinostroza /
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DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 28: Goaltender Anton Forsberg
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 28: Goaltender Anton Forsberg /

Steve Yatsushiro

Question 1: After the victory over Minnesota and the loss to Montreal, calling up Vinnie Hinostroza would be the wrong choice. What the ’Hawks are lacking is the interior game and finishing off scoring chances. Hinostroza offers tremendous speed and perimeter play, but not the interior game.

The ’Hawks are not getting the greasy goals in the home plate area. Against the Wild, Artem Anisimov scored on a beautiful redirect in the low slot from a pinpoint flip shot by Duncan Keith at the point. They need more of this net-front presence if they are not going to slash to the net on their speed attack.

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Adding Hinostroza only gives them a new guy to chase pucks on the outside. He’s leading the IceHogs in scoring but remember, his blazing speed gives him time and space to make plays at the AHL level but has not translated at the NHL level.

He’s also not a great finisher. If the strategy is to simply wear down the opposition with a fast guy, then OK, bring him up. But with the dearth of 5-on-5 scoring, I’d look to add interior scoring instead.

Against the Canadiens, Jonathan Toews just missed converting on a open right side of the net, but he couldn’t elevate the puck over the outstretched pad of Charlie Lindgren. Richard Panik is starting to be more of a playmaker rather than a one-man show, and Alex DeBrincat has just missed on some golden opportunities, but he is going to the net.

Line 2 can control the puck but often too much. That line needs to rely on its quick sticks to snag some juicy rebounds by pounding the net with shots. The effort and chances are there, but they’re just not converting. Line 3 has been effective, but not good old No. 10. Line 4 is a wrecking crew and wreaking lots of havoc, so this needs to be left alone.

If things get absolutely desperate, then Hinostroza could be given a look-see, just to find out if he really can play at the NHL level. I’d rather see David Kampf or Tomas Jurco, who bring some size and interior ability.

Question 2: I think the ’Hawks register two more shutouts this season. While Corey Crawford is playing Vezina-worthy goaltending, i don’t think he can sustain this superhuman effort all season long.

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Keith and Cody Franson are developing into a pretty good top defensive pair. Beyond this pair though, there are some scary moments. Brent Seabrook continues to struggle with speed, and the Connor MurphyMichal Kempny pairing is still a work in progress, but improving. So I’m going with two shutouts.