Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Vincent Hinostroza set to make NHL debut vs. Blue Jackets

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Blackhawks: Vincent Hinostroza set to make NHL debut vs. Blue Jackets

Vincent Hinostroza grew up like so many hockey-playing kids in Chicago: hoping one day to play for the hometown Blackhawks.

Saturday night, he’ll do just that.

Hinostroza was recalled on Friday and he’ll be in the lineup when the Blackhawks host the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center. Hinostroza will make his NHL debut on the third line, where he’ll be centering Teuvo Teravainen and Ryan Garbutt. Hinostroza will have to adjust to the playing styles of his line mates. The Bartlett native will also have to balance his own emotions, which will certainly be high.

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“I have to find the right area between being excited and nervous,” Hinostroza said. “It’s just a hockey game out there, so I have to channel all that, just go out there and play my game, be excited and play hard.”

Hinostroza was one of several forwards who impressed the Blackhawks enough to be in Chicago during the waning days of training camp. Coach Joel Quenneville said this morning that he talked to the young forward, who “seemed excited, certainly.”

“It’s a great honor, great privilege and great opportunity for him as well,” Quenneville said of Hinostroza. “That line certainly brings a lot of speed and pace to the game and that’s the way we want him to play. He had a real special game in Detroit in the preseason, got our attention. Just have that type of pace to your game tonight and you’ll be effective.”

How long Hinostroza’s stay with the Blackhawks lasts depends on what he can do. The Blackhawks are looking for some stability and some chemistry on their lines — outside of the second-line combination of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane, which has been the most consistent trio thus far.

“My goal going into training camp was make an impression on the coaching staff. I guess I did that, being back here so soon. But I don’t want to just be here for a game or two,” he said. “I want to stick here, so I’m really looking forward to playing tonight. I just want to keep getting better every day.”

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Hinostroza is the latest Chicago-area native to get his chance with the big club. He said he’s been dreaming of this since he was four years old. Tonight, the dream becomes reality.

“This is going to be an unbelievable night for me and my family, too, because they’ve sacrificed so much for me to get to this point,” he said. “I’m excited to celebrate that with them, too.”

BRIEFLY

- Corey Crawford will start for the Blackhawks.

- Former Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad will get his Stanley Cup ring before the game. A video montage to Saad is scheduled for the first television timeout.

- Viktor Tikhonov looks to be the healthy scratch among the forwards.

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Adam Boqvist

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 168 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"Boqvist is a finesse defenseman who is very skilled, possesses excellent vision and tons of talent. He is fun to watch and full of surprises on the ice. He often plays bigger than his size and skated in his first games with Sweden's Senior National Team in April."

NHL player comparable: Erik Karlsson

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks would love to have Karlsson, who is probably being traded out of Ottawa this summer. Every team would love to have him. But that's not realistic for Chicago. So what if they drafted his potential mini me?

Boqvist is electric with the puck and has drawn comparisons to the Swedish defenseman as a best-case scenario.

There are two concerns, though. One is that he may need some time to develop at just 17 years old and his defense a work in progress. The second is that he's sustained head injuries over the course of his young career, which adds a little bit of risk to the equation.

If he can stay healthy and his development isn't rushed, there's major upside here. But are the Blackhawks willing to be patient? We're not so sure.

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

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USA TODAY

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

Here's an interesting development as we approach the NHL Draft: Artemi Panarin has informed the Blue Jackets that he's not ready to consider an extension "at this time" and because of that, Columbus is testing the market for the Russian winger, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen responded to the report shortly after in a statement released by the team:

"Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player. Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years and that has not changed. He has a year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work towards that end. Should anything change moving forward, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club.”

Ironically, Panarin was traded to Columbus on the afternoon of last year's draft as part of a blockbuster package that sent Brandon Saad back to Chicago. It shook up the hockey world, and has the potential to do so again.

Panarin is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but is free to sign an extension with Columbus on July 1. Clearly, that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now and it's why the Blue Jackets have to put out feelers. They can't risk losing him for nothing.

On the flip side, Panarin has every right to test the open market. He has one year left on his contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. He's due for a hefty raise, will be 27 years old next summer — the prime of his hockey career — and will certainly be looking for a long-term deal after accepting a bridge contract with the Blackhawks.

Speaking of whom, should his former team explore bringing him back to Chicago now that he's on the market?

Every general manager should and will do their due diligence and call for an asking price, Stan Bowman included. Those conversations might start with Alex DeBrincat or Nick Schmaltz, and if that's the case, you say thanks but no thanks and move on. 

The Blackhawks have the Nos. 8 and 27 picks in this year's draft as possible ammunition, but the Blue Jackets are ready to take that next step. They were up 2-0 in their first-round series before losing four straight to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. It's unlikely they'd be looking to center a potential deal around draft picks. 

The only way you even consider it from the Blackhawks perspective is if Panarin is guaranteed to sign a long-term extension at a price you're comfortable with, but that's one of the main reasons why they traded him in the first place. 

To cap it all off, trading for Panarin wouldn't even address the Blackhawks' biggest need and that's a Top 4 defenseman. Those don't grow on trees. The Blackhawks will have the cap space to sign a player like James van Riemsdyk to patch up their top 6. You can't say the same for the free-agent blue line group.

So while it may certainly be fun for Blackhawks fans to come up with possible trade scenarios to get Panarin back in an Indianhead sweater, it just doesn't make great sense for a variety of reasons.