The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired forward Vinnie Hinostroza from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Brad Morrison.
A Chicago native, Hinostroza was drafted by the Blackhawks in the 6th round back in 2012. His first three NHL seasons came with them, until he was traded to unload Marian Hossa's salary. Hinostroza scored 21 goals combined in the next two seasons, but he has mostly been a healthy scratch this year while being reunited with Head Coach Joel Quenneville. By re-acquiring him, GM Stan Bowman continues his long tradition of bringing back players. While Hinostroza has not done anything this year, he has been productive in the past, and his cap hit is just $1 million, before becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The cost is also very low, as Morrison, acquired in the offseason from Los Angeles for Olli Maatta, has split time between the AHL and ECHL. Bringing in Hinostroza could also make the Hawks more inclined to deal pending UFAs Mattias Janmark and Carl Soderberg.
Hinostroza, who will turn 27 tomorrow, has no points in nine games this year for the Panthers. In his NHL career for the Panthers, Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes, Hinostroza has scored 34 goals with 66 assists for 100 points in 255 games.
His lack of playing time this year shows that Hinostroza was not valued highly by the Panthers. Florida will be a buyer at the trade deadline, which is in 10 days. And with star defenseman Aaron Ekblad out for the year, they need cap space to acquire a defender, potentially Columbus' David Savard. This trade clears up a little bit of space, but still some space. A 2015 4th round pick by the Rangers, Morrison had a decent WHL career, but he has not been exceptional since turning pro, and he is not a young prospect.
Morrison, 24, scored three goals with two assists for five points in six games for the AHL's Rockford IceHogs this year. For the ECHL's Indy Fuel, he has a goal and an assist in three games. In his AHL career for Rockford and the Ontario Reign, Morrison has scored 13 goals with 12 assists for 25 points in 56 games.