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Hey Stranger: Blackhawks acquire Hinostroza from Panthers

Because of course they did.

NHL: FEB 05 Predators at Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Because the Blackhawks’ front office imagination appears to be incapable of venturing beyond the walls of its own practice facilities, Chicago did what Chicago does on Friday afternoon and re-acquired a former player by trading Brad Morrison to the Panthers for Vinnie Hinostroza.

Morrison came to the Blackhawks in an October 2020 trade with the Kings for Olli Maatta and has split time between the AHL and ECHL this season.

Hinostroza, meanwhile, is a native of Bartlett in Chicago’s northwest suburbs and originally came to the organization as a sixth-round pick (169th overall) out of Notre Dame in the 2012 NHL Draft. He debuted in the 2015-16 season and played 106 games with the Hawks, scoring 13 goals with 26 assists. On July 12, 2018, he was moved as part of the deal between the Blackhawks and the Coyotes that sent Marian Hossa’s contract to the desert. Hinostroza played two seasons in Arizona, appearing in 140 games with 21 goals and 40 assists.

He signed a one-year, $1 million deal with Florida in the last offseason but played in just nine games for the Panthers without scoring a point, averaging only 9:50 of ice time. Hinostroza’s production with Florida didn’t line up with what he’d been producing at earlier stages of his career:

Hinostroza turns 27 on Saturday and a homecoming trade seems like a decent birthday gift for the forward, who has a chance to find a spark that’s been missing since he went to Florida. This deal appears to fall into the “low-risk, low reward” category with Hinostroza on an expiring contract that disappears from the Blackhawks’ payroll should he fail to produce over the next month.

But there is some annoyance associated with general manager Stan Bowman once again re-acquiring a former Blackhawks player, a motif that’s venturing beyond comedy and into absurdity.