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2023 Player Report Card: Vinnie Hinostroza

Total Season Stats: 2-9-11 in 26 NHL games played

Age: 29

Contract Status: UFA

Vinnie Hinostroza did not have an ideal season with the Buffalo Sabres, spending most of the year as a healthy scratch. When he did play, he did his job well, but on a competitive team, he struggled to find a roster spot.

After being scratched for the first two games, Hinostroza put up four points in two games against Edmonton (0-1) and Calgary (0-3). He also played the next four games, notching another assist, but was then scratched for the next five games.

After playing eight of the next 10 games, he was scratched for the first two weeks of December. One game, then nearly a month passed before his next game.

It came as no surprise then, when the Sabres placed Hinostroza on waivers in mid-January. The team wasn’t using him well enough, and placing him on waivers seemed like a chance to give him a fresh start somewhere else. After he went unclaimed, his fresh start (sort of) came – in Rochester.

In 11 games with the Amerks, Hinostroza played big minutes and put up nine points, including five goals and four assists. It was a good little stint for him, but that’s all it was. His best game came on February 11 against the Crunch, with two goals and an assist. He also added four shots on goal. (The AHL doesn’t keep public TOI records.)

Hinostroza returned to Buffalo in late February, played in six straight, then missed 18 of the last 19 games. Most of that time was spent as a healthy scratch. He finished the NHL season with 11 points in 26 games and played an average of 12:36 per game, second-lowest among forwards who played more than 20 games.

Hinostroza nets a go-ahead goal
Vinnie Hinostroza fires the puck from the circle to get it past Brian Elliott and give the Sabres a 2-1 lead in the 2nd

He didn’t play a ton, but when he did, he was a serviceable forward. His special teams work was also key. However, at this point, given the Sabres’ forward depth, it seems unlikely the team would sign him this summer. It would be a tough hill to climb for Hinostroza to be competitive for a roster spot when October rolls around, and he’s almost certainly better off seeking a contract elsewhere.

(But yes, I will give him his brownie points for coming onto Twitter to post for the first time in a year and a half solely to support a young Sabres fan!)

Season Grade: B