Welcome Back Vinnie, Hagel in COVID Protocol, Controlling Their Own Destiny, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Welcome Back Vinnie, Hagel in COVID Protocol, Controlling Their Own Destiny, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Yesterday, I talked about that NHL trade market being a bit quiet for the Chicago Blackhawks. In the post, I talked about how even though the market seemed thin, I’d like some team to do something, anything, so that we could talk about it. What I didn’t expect was that the “some team” would be Chicago themselves.

•   I guess I have to be a bit more selective when putting those kinds of thoughts and hopes and dreams into the hockey universe, because the Hockey Gods have a sense of humor to them.

•   The something needed up being the Blackhawks trading Brad Morrison to the Florida Panthers in exchange for former Blackhawk Vinnie Hinostroza. A trademark Stan Bowman former Blackhawks reacquisition trade.

•   The move, as minor as it may end up being, cannot be being made as its own, standalone trade. There has to be more behind it. Hinostroza comes back to the Blackhawks after being part of the Marian Hossa trade with the Arizona Coyotes back in July of 2018. Since then, he’s played two full seasons with the Coyotes before signing with the Panthers this offseason. He’s skated in only nine games with Florida and has no points. Bowman’s plans for Hinostroza in his return to the club are puzzling.

•   There must be more moves coming behind this one for the Blackhawks. Hinostroza has decent NHL experience, but he hasn’t been a starter for a contending team like the Panthers this season and he’s joining a Blackhawks team that has put emphasis on playing their younger players. My only conclusion is that Chicago made this move to get a insurance depth forward, in exchange for basically nothing (sorry, Brad), so that if/when the Blackhawks trade Mattias Janmark and/or Carl Söderberg, they have someone with NHL experience as an option to plug into the lineup.

•   Either way, talk about a decent birthday present getting to come back to your “hometown” team that drafted you.

•   Just add him to the list now…

•   There’s some shuffling going to be happening this weekend with the addition of Hinostroza. Eight players were moved between the Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs ahead of this weekend’s NHL and AHL action, and Philipp Kurashev was moved in a paper transaction and shouldn’t affect his lineup status, according to Scott Powers.

•   Also affecting the roster shuffle, rookie Brandon Hagel was placed on the COVID Protocol list yesterday afternoon.

•   There’s a number of reasons why Hagel could have ended up on the list, but the hope is that he can make a full recovery, or have a quick stint and rejoin the Blackhawks soon. Hagel is the seventh player to be placed on the COVID protocol list for the Blackhawks this season, the first since mid-February.

•   With Hagel out for at least today’s game against the Nashville Predators, the Blackhawks lineup is going to be shuffled again. My two big takeaways from head coach Jeremy Colliton’s adjustments here is Kurashev moving up from the fourth-line to the second-line. Hopefully getting him off the fourth-line is a permanent move. The second being Kirby Dach getting moved up to the top-line with Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane. The possibilities for offensive creation with that line seems endless. I hope that the trio can be effective against the Predators today and we see that top combination the rest of the way this season.

•   Don’t forget that today’s broadcast will feature Blackhawks Player Development coach and USA Olympian Kendall Coyne-Schofield on the call!

https://twitter.com/NBCSBlackhawks/status/1378331458939461632?s=20

•   Today’s game is the first of 10-straight contests for the Blackhawks against the teams that are in the Central Division playoff chase. They’ll have four games against the Predators in that stretch, a team they haven’t beaten yet this season and the team that Chicago is tied with for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Division. Chicago will also end their season series’ with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings over the next ten-game span.

•   Chicago holds a 12-6-2 record against the four teams tied or below them in the standings this season. The best case and most realistic case scenario for the Blackhawks would be to win six or seven of the next ten games and get points in at least seven or eight of the ten games. If they were to do that, all in games which have potential four-point swings to them, they could grab a firm hold of fourth-place in the Division heading into the final two weeks of the season.

•   In prospect news, it appears that NCAA prospect Jake Wise will be transferring from Boston University to Ohio State. The 2018 third-round pick by the Blackhawks played in 50 games and tallied 17 points in his three years at Boston, but injuries have been harsh on him during his time in college, and he has only played one full season in the last three years. Hopefully he can stay healthy and get a fresh start at Ohio State.

•   In non-Blackhawks prospect news, WHL phenom Connor Bedard is still tearing it up as a 15-year old. He LEADS the WHL in points with 20 in 11 games. Kid is legit.

•   In the NHL COVID world, while Hagel was placed in COVID Protocol yesterday, the Blackhawks were still able to practice and will play their game against the Predators today without issue. However, in Vancouver, the Canucks are facing a major problem with a COVID outbreak.

•   The Canucks have already had their team facilities and games shutdown and postponed through April 6th, this might be a situation that lasts beyond that date and could mean the Canucks will not be able to play their full 56-game schedule this season. Hopefully the situation can be resolved quickly and safely for all those involved in Vancouver.

•   That’s all for today, enjoy your Saturday! We’ll see you at 2:00 p.m. CT for Blackhawks and Predators.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.