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Flames’ Noah Hanifin Going to UFA Market, U.S. Teams Favorited

Elliotte Friedman reports that Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin will not sign an extension with the team. He will go to market.

In a recent update from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, it has been revealed that Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin will not sign an extension with the team ahead of the March 8 trade deadline. Instead, he intends to test unrestricted free agency this summer, making him a sought-after commodity in the upcoming trade market.

Neither the player’s agent nor the Flames organization has officially commented on the situation. However, Friedman’s insights during the Saturday Headlines segment suggest the relationship between Hanifin and the Flames is ending. Despite Friedman’s reluctance to constantly discuss the Flames, the ongoing speculation around their pending unrestricted free agents, including Hanifin and Chris Tanev, makes it hard to avoid.

Friedman stated, “It’s very difficult to avoid it because I think a lot of teams are waiting on Calgary, even though they’ve made two trades already, for the other two to three they could possibly make.” He added:

Now, the team isn’t commenting, the agent isn’t commenting, but it’s pretty clear from just everything we learned today that Noah Hanifin is going to the market. And I think there are Canadian teams interested in him, but I think long-term the U.S. teams are more confident that they’re going to be the ones that are able to sign him. But it’s very clear to me without any confirmation from team or agent that Noah Hanifin is going to market, and the action has picked up around them.

What Happens With Hanifin Short and Long-Term?

Hanifin, in the final year of a six-year deal with a $4.95 million cap hit, has been a significant presence in the Flames’ top four, contributing 30 points and boasting a plus-10 rating in 55 games this season. With an eight-team no-trade list, Hanifin maintains some control over his destination.

Noah Hanifin Flames trade talk

It will be intriguing to see which teams are willing to invest in a trade if the belief is that Hanifin will sign long-term with a U.S.-based club. Contenders and playoff hopefuls with defensive gaps will be interested, but likely only willing to pay so much if they know he’ll be a rental.

Hanifin’s camp is rumored to have been offered somewhere a strong deal. It was in the neighborhood of eight years with a $7.5 million AAV by the Flames. If Hanifin appears inclined to explore his options, he must believe he can secure more lucrative offers during the summer.

The next few weeks will presumably mark the end of Hanifin’s six-year tenure in Calgary. As the trade deadline looms, it will be fascinating to watch where he lands, first as a rental, and then potentially where as an unrestricted free agent.

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