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Trade Interest Low for Flames’ Mikael Backlund and Noah Hanifin

Trade interest in Flames’ Mikael Backlund and Noah Hanifin is currently low due to contract and cap limitations among the rest of the NHL.

Limited trade interest surrounds Flames’ center Mikael Backlund and defenseman Noah Hanifin, as per Pat Steinberg from Sportsnet 960. In the case of Backlund, his contract has put a damper on things. Meanwhile, teams do like Hanifin, they are lowballing the Flames and not willing to put a solid offer together under the assumption new general manager Craig Conroy will eventually feel the squeeze.

Despite an impressive previous season, where he recorded 19 goals and 37 assists in 82 games, coupled with solid defensive skills, Backlund is just too expensive for most teams to seriously consider right now. His $5.35 million average annual value contract has caused trade hurdles and some teams are hoping the Flames find themselves in a position where they need to dump money and Backlund might become a cap casualty or he’ll be an option next summer when his contract expires.

Mikael Backlund Noah Hanfin trade Flames
Mikael Backlund Noah Hanfin trade Flames

While Backlund hasn’t ruled out extending his contract with the Flames, he plans to evaluate the team’s performance during the forthcoming 2023-24 season before committing. This has left the Flames in a bit of a spot as they can’t trade him and he won’t sign. Steinberg suggests that with Calgary facing tight salary cap constraints, GM Craig Conroy might explore avenues for salary relief. He contends the Flames are better to hold onto Backlund for now and notes, “If he continues his performance from last season, Backlund will become a sought-after asset leading up to the trade deadline.”

What About Noah Hanifin?

Switching focus to Hanifin, Steinberg explains, “Based on current information, the holdup in trading Hanifin is straightforward: substantial offers have yet to materialize.” He adds, “The NHL’s stagnant cap environment is partly to blame, causing player transactions to stall league-wide. Numerous teams are grappling with constricted cap circumstances at present.”

Hanifin is arguably the best defenseman still available on the market. Teams will eventually up their offers.

As the 2023-24 season progresses, the performance of players like Backlund and the responsiveness of the trade market will likely be closely monitored, reflecting the interplay between team strategies and the larger economic context within the NHL. Hanifin is already a commodity of interest, it’s a matter of trade offers coming up and the Flames feeling comfortable with any deal.

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