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Blackhawks unload Hossa's contract in trade with Coyotes

The Associated Press — By JAY COHEN - AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks traded Marian Hossa and Vinnie Hinostroza to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, parting with a promising young forward in order to clear out a troublesome contract.

The Blackhawks also sent defenseman Jordan Oesterle and a third-round pick in the 2019 draft to the Coyotes for forwards Marcus Kruger, MacKenzie Entwistle and Jordan Maletta, defenseman Andrew Campbell and a fifth-round pick in next year's draft.

Kruger broke into the NHL with Chicago and spent his first seven seasons with the Blackhawks before he was traded to Vegas last July. The expansion Golden Knights then flipped him to Carolina for a fifth-round pick, and he struggled in his only season with the Hurricanes before he was dealt to Arizona in May.

The 39-year-old Hossa did not play last season because of severe side effects from medication to treat a progressive skin disorder. He isn't expected to play again, but he is signed through the 2020-21 season at a $5.275 million cap hit.

Hossa agreed to a $63.3 million, 12-year deal with Chicago in 2009, and the winger played a crucial role in the Blackhawks going from a promising young team to a run of three Stanley Cup titles in six seasons. But Chicago missed the playoffs last season for the first time in a decade, and the additional cap space created by the trade could pave the way for some pricey help via trade, perhaps for the Blackhawks' beleaguered defensive pairings.

"Marian's long-term contributions to the club will never be forgotten," the team said in a statement. "His performance as a player was always appreciated, but it is his special qualities as a teammate, a leader and a person, that will more than anything leave its mark on all of us who have come to love and respect the very humble way he goes about everything he does."

The trade gets Hossa's contract off Chicago's books, but it comes at a cost. Hinostroza, a 24-year-old Chicago native, set career highs with seven goals and 18 assists in 50 games last season.

"I think he plays at a super high pace, one of the highest paces in the league," Coyotes GM John Chayka said during a conference call. "He's skilled, he's smart and he reads the play extremely well. He gets out in open ice and he makes a lot of things happen. He's constantly on the puck, constantly pressuring the puck."

Hinostroza's increased production last season came from playing looser and more confidently. Early in his career, he worried a mistake would send him to the bench or even to the minors. Putting those concerns behind him, Hinostroza played more freely last season and his numbers climbed.

"Where I made strides was the mental side of my game," he said. "I was always worried if I made a mistake, what was going to happen. Last year, I kind of let go of all expectations. I knew I belonged in the league and I knew I could play my game and help the team win.

The 26-year-old Oesterle had five goals and 10 assists in 55 games last season. He played in just 25 games with Edmonton over his first three NHL seasons before making the most of his opportunity with Chicago.

"Jordan is a mobile, puck-moving defenseman who will join our great group on the back end," Chayka said. "He breaks out pucks very well and will join the rush offensively."

Arizona and Chicago have been frequent trade partners over the years, and the lowly Coyotes also have shown a willingness to absorb problematic contracts in exchange for prospects and draft picks. They acquired Chris Pronger in a trade with Philadelphia three years ago, and Pronger's last game was in 2011. They took on Pavel Datsyuk's cap hit in a trade with Detroit in 2016.

The 28-year-old Kruger, a fifth-round pick by Chicago in 2009, had one goal and 48 assists for Carolina. He finished the season in the minors.

The Blackhawks "know what kind of player I am," Kruger told reporters on a conference call. "Playing to my strengths and being a guy that they can trust on both ends of the ice. So yeah, I think it's going to be exciting. We both know each other so it's not going to be a problem, I think."

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