28-year-old is not a top scorer, but a dependable forward
Our Buffalo Sabres 2022 player report cards continue today with a look at forward Vinnie Hinostroza.
Total Season Stats: 62 GP, 13 G, 12 A, 25 PTS
Contract Status: one-year 2021-22 ($1,050,000) UFA in 2022.
Vinnie Hinostroza is one of those less-noticed players that don’t get a lot of attention but quietly do their jobs, occasionally making big plays. The Buffalo Sabres signed the veteran forward to a one-year deal at the start of the past season, looking to see if he could prove himself. Hinostroza did much better than his previous season with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he netted just four goals, eight assists and only 12 total points.
Back in March, Sion Fawkes of Sabre Noise opined that GM Kevyn Adams should resign Vinnie Hinostroza without any hesitation or delay. Pointing to his performance at the NHL Heritage Classic, he can score goals, control the puck and set up plays. Hinostroza was injured for two months in 2021-22, so it’s probable his point total would have been higher if not for his extended period off the ice.
Hinostroza has played on the Sabres’ second, third and fourth lines. Good at center, he’s also become a reliable right winger, often paired with players including Peyton Krebs, Casey Mittlestadt and Dylan Cozens. He’s not a scoring star like Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner or a defenseman who likes to play offense, such as Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power. However, hockey teams need reliable forwards on their lines and Hinostroza has shown that he can step up and be a steady part of the Sabres’ roster.
He’s also proven he has speed and skill with a deceptively fast shot. At times this past year, he’s taken advantage of scoring opportunities. At a game against the Washington Capitals in December, he raced down the ice to get the puck past Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek when Washington was making a line change:
While Adams has to decide if he wants to resign Hinostroza, the veteran also must decide if he wants to stay in Buffalo for at least another year. Does he want to be here and stay with a Sabres team that’s finally showing some promise or do he and his agent believe he has better opportunities somewhere else? A year ago, nobody would have been surprised if a player such as Hinostroza left without a second thought, like many former Sabres. Now, however, the team is showing a major improvement. Maybe No. 29 will still be in Buffalo this coming season if he and Adams both want to make another deal.
Season Grade: C