Teams around the NHL are making decisions on their restricted free agents and the Arizona Coyotes appear to have made one regarding Vinnie Hinostroza.
After re-signing Kyle Capobianco and Ilya Lyubushkin to new contracts yesterday, reports emerged today from Craig Morgan that suggest that the Coyotes will not be doing the same with forward Vinnie Hinostroza.
Hinostroza has been with the Coyotes organization for the past two seasons after being included in the trade that also saw the team acquire defenseman Jordan Oesterle, forward Marian Hossa’s contract, and a 2019 third-round pick (74th overall) from the Chicago Blackhawks.
Sent in the opposite direction was defenseman Andrew Campbell, forwards Marcus Kruger, Jordan Maletta, and Mackenzie Entwistle as well as a 2019 fifth-round pick (138th overall).
In Hinostroza’s first season in the desert, he impressed greatly with 16 goals and 39 total points in 72 regular-season games - with then-general manager John Chayka likely feeling as if he had made daylight robbery with the deal, especially with Oesterle also impressing along the blueline.
The following season, however, was a great disappointment for the Chicago native. He scored just five goals and had 22 total points in 68 regular-season appearances - adding a further two assists in five post-season games.
With his two-year, $1.5 million AAV contract expiring this week, with the 26-year-old holding arbitration eligibility, the Arizona Coyotes needed to determine whether or not they would extend him a qualifying offer, negotiate a new deal, or simply allow him to walk into unrestricted free agency.
Had the Coyotes qualified Hinostroza, it would have seen him earn a further $1.5 million over the next season. However, it appears that this was too rich for the Coyotes to accept given the uncertainty over his future production after such a significant drop-off this past season.
Hinostroza will now have an opportunity to prove to teams around the league that he can get back to the level of production shown during the 2018/19 season.
For the Coyotes, this leaves them with another forward spot to fill on the roster, with decisions still to be made on fellow RFA Christian Fischer as well as impending UFAs Brad Richardson, Carl Soderberg, and Taylor Hall - with the latter’s negotiating rights reportedly up for grabs.
The 2020/21 Arizona Coyotes are shaping up to look significantly different from what they have been over the past two seasons and this deal, along with Michael Grabner’s recent buyout, could very well be just the first dominoes to fall in what will be a huge week for the organization.