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Insiders Say Trade Interest in Flames’ Noah Hanifin Intensifying

Interest surrounding 27 year old Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin is heating up, reports suggest. Potential bidding war coming?

The Calgary Flames face a busy trade deadline this March, prompting many to question the future of 27-year-old defenseman Noah Hanifin, who is a pending unrestricted free agent this offseason. Hanifin is a smooth-skating, top-four defenseman in the middle of his prime. Many Flames fans would have loved to see the Boston native sign a long-term extension in Calgary, as they see him as an excellent piece to keep around during a competitive retool.

However, it seems that fans finally have more clarity on Hanifin’s motives. Elliotte Friedman reported on Hockey Night in Canada that Hanifin is expected to test the free agency market in July, suggesting that a trade from Calgary is highly likely. Hanifin currently has a $4.9 million cap hit with a considerable raise due for his next contract.

Noah Hanifin 2024 NHL  trade deadline targets
Noah Hanifin 2024 NHL trade deadline targets

A Hanifin Trade Would be Huge for Contending Teams

Many teams around the NHL have begun to express serious interest in Hanifin given his age and his role. There’s no question that the demand for Hanifin among contenders is growing considerably as we get closer to March 8th. Friedman reported on 32 Thoughts the Podcast along with Jeff Marek that the teams that have expressed interest include the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Meanwhile, Frank Seravali from the Daily Faceoff also lists the Vegas Golden Knights and New Jersey Devils as potential suitors for Hanifin. The point is that there’s clearly a big marketplace for his services and the Flames could potentially see themselves in the middle of a bidding war if interest ramps up.

TSN’s Insider Trading also reports that American NHL markets are the most likely destination for Hanifin as he has indicated in the past that going back to America to be closer to home would be a welcoming idea. Could we see a potential homecoming with the Boston Bruins for example? Their interest makes it possible.

It’s worth noting that while Canadian teams aren’t excluded, acquiring Hanifin would likely be a rental due to his preference.

The addition of Hanifin would be huge for contending teams looking to make an impact in the post-season. Blue line depth never hurts and additionally, Hanifin’s salary allows for some flexibility for cap management. He stands out as one of the more premium assets available for trade with a reasonable cap hit.

Will the Flames Implement Asset Protection on Hanifin?

As the trade deadline comes around, we often see NHL teams begin to protect their major assets to prevent injury. With the Flames being top sellers this deadline, needing to protect trade assets is a strong aspect that Conroy and his staff need to consider. Pat Steinberg from Sportsnet questions how with all the rumors going around and interest growing, will we begin to see players such as Hanifin and Chris Tanev sitting games out for injury prevention? Asking this question is wise due to the risk of players getting injured close to the deadline, reducing their value.

The Flames can’t afford an injury to Hanifin as it would significantly impact the return they could receive for him. Conroy may start sitting players in the coming weeks if trade talks intensify, indicating a strong possibility of progress.

A Bidding War May Be on the Horizon

With so many teams linking themselves to Hanifin, it’s not unreasonable to anticipate a potential bidding war. As mentioned, it’s not too often a defenseman of Hanifin’s caliber becomes available at such a reasonable cap hit. If the Flames opt to trade him close to the deadline, Conroy won’t negotiate unless he deems the offer fair. The rumored asking price for Hanifin is a first-round pick, prospect, and roster player. It’s certainly likely that the Flames will receive a bigger return if a bidding war occurs, as contending teams may become desperate to get a deal done to acquire Hanifin and go all in.

The Hanifin rumors will keep circulating until someone finalizes a deal, one way or another. Demand will only increase for the 27-year-old defenseman until the March 8th deadline.

Next: Can the Lightning Strike and Tampa Land Noah Hanifin?

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. MoxNix

    February 21, 2024 at 7:51 pm

    Friedman says Hanifin is going to market… IOW, he’s going to be traded. So naturally every hack hockey writer and clueless TV talking head on the planet incorrectly report Friedman said Hanifin is going to test free agency?

    • NHL Trade Talk

      February 22, 2024 at 1:09 am

      Going to market means going to free agency. A player doesn’t tell a GM that he’s going to market to be traded. It’s not up to the player to test the trade market. All he can say is, ‘I’m not signing here long-term and I’ll test the free agent market.’ The GM then decides what to do, which is likely a trade.

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