The Arizona Coyotes are expected to slash payroll dramatically this offseason as the team deals with a new financial reality. While that may play out most dramatically with an Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade, it also may be seen in the margins with some less expensive players. Vinnie Hinostroza, one of the team’s pending restricted free agents, is not expected to receive a qualifying offer according to Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider. That would make him an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
Hinostroza, 26, would need a $1.5MM qualifying offer from the Coyotes to remain in the organization, but it could end up costing them even more than that to get him signed. The sixth-round pick is also arbitration-eligible, and with a 16-goal season in 2018-19 may end up landing more than just $1.5MM should he get that far. The only way to avoid arbitration is by cutting bait, something we suggested the Coyotes may do in our Free Agent Focus piece last month.
Frankly, Hinostroza hasn’t been good enough to deserve a raise this offseason. The former Chicago Blackhawk scored just five goals and 22 points for the Coyotes this season and doesn’t bring a ton of value outside of his expected offense. When he first arrived in Arizona it seemed like a strong fit, but the combination of a lack of scoring and salary restructuring appear to have made him expendable.
As a free agent, he’ll be an interesting name to keep an eye on. Perhaps a team can get the relatively young forward on a bargain contract to attempt a bounce-back season, especially in a flat-cap world that could squeeze the midrange free agents.