Noah Hanifin Becomes the NHL's Top Defenseman in the Trade Market

noah hanifin becomes the nhl's top defenseman in the trade market

Noah Hanifin Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Hanifin frequently surfaced in this season’s rumor mill due to his on-again, off-again contract extension talks with the Calgary Flames. However, the 27-year-old could be on his way out of the Stampede City by the March 8 NHL trade deadline.

The Hockey News Calgary’s Randy Sportak cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating that Hanifin will head to the free-agent market on July 1. Friedman said neither the Flames nor the Hanifin camp have commented regarding his status.

If Hanifin isn’t interested in re-signing with the Flames, GM Craig Conroy will have no choice but to move him for the best return by the deadline.

Hanifin’s age and all-around skills would make him the top defenseman available in the trade market. It’s also believed Conroy is already entertaining offers for Chris Tanev. Like Hanifin, the 34-year-old blueliner is eligible for UFA status this summer.

The Hockey News Boston’s Sam Belton recently noted the Flames were scouting the Bruins game last Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bruins GM Don Sweeney has long been a fan of Hanifin’s, prompting Belton to wonder if Sweeney might pursue the Flames blueliner.

Speaking of the Lightning, contributor Michael DeRosa cited The Fourth Period, linking them to Hanifin. The Hockey News New Jersey’s Kristy Flannery also suggested Hanifin could be a good fit on the Devils’ blueline.

Acquiring Hanifin, however, will be expensive. The 6-foot-3, 216-pounder is in the prime of his career and carries a $4.95-million cap hit for this season, along with an eight-team no-trade clause, according to PuckPedia.

Conroy will likely seek at least a first-round pick, plus either a good young NHL player or a top prospect as part of the return. The Bruins and Lightning are cap-strapped clubs that would need the Flames to retain part of Hanifin’s salary, which could drive up Conroy’s asking price. As for the Devils, their focus is more on a starting goaltender, such as Hanifin’s teammate Jacob Markstrom.

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