Report: Hanifin headed south via trade
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Report: Hanifin headed south via trade

A stealth move from a sneaky Cup contender!?



The Calgary Flames continued their rollercoaster, up and down season last night with an impressive victory over the Winnipeg Jet.

This is a team that's somehow still in the playoff mix, yet there's constant concern about their future. They've committed long-term to Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and MacKenzie Weegar, but they still stand to lose the likes of Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev to free agency this offseason. Of course, they already offloaded pending UFAs Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov earlier this season.

Obviously, given what happened with Johnny Gaudreau in the 2022 offseason, the Flames can't afford to lose anyone to free agency without getting some sort of assets in return but... where does GM Craig Conroy start?

We've all heard the rumors surrounding Tanev for weeks now, but we haven't heard much regarding Hanifin's future with the team. Arguably the most valuable defenseman on the team, Hanifin is set to cash in big on his next deal at just 26 years old. He's currently making $4.95 million per season and there's talk that he could command nearly double that on the open market.

TSN insider Pierre LeBrun reports last month that Hanifin was on the verge of signing an eight year extension at $7.5 million with the Flames before he had an abrupt change of mind. That was earlier this season while the Flames were mired in an ugly losing skid. Now, weeks later LeBrun reports that Hanifin's mind hasn't really changed, but that most insiders believe he'll sign a deal with a guarantee that he'll be traded. Essentially, what we're looking at here is a 'sign and trade' like former GM Brad Treliving pulled off with Matthew Tkachuk.

From LeBrun's latest on TSN:

"They came so close to extending Noah Hanifin... around $7.5 million that Hanifin had on the table and it was actually Hanifin who backed off from it and I don't know if any of that has changed now. I don't know if you can put the genie back in the bottle but the idea from everyone involved is that he gets dealt as a signed player, that there's an extension in place for him wherever he ends up."

- Noah Hanifin

Not a bad idea, honestly. 

Meanwhile, LeBrun's TSN colleague Chris Johnston reports that Hanifin will be moved elsewhere and that he's likely to end up south of the Canadian border. Johnston reports that Hanifin has an 8 team no-trade clause and he suspects that "most" of Canada's 7 teams are on that no-trade list.

"The feeling is he's going to end up south of the border. Because it's his preference to sign his next contract somewhere in the United States. Keep your eye on Tampa, they're stealth operators at the deadline and they are believed to be looking at him with Mikhail Sergechev out of the lineup.

- Chris Johnston

It's clear to me that Hanifin on a long-term deal is a much more valuable asset to the Flames than shipping him out as a rental player.

Stay tuned. We could be looking at a wholesale line change for the Flames' defense corps.

Source: Chris Johnston