#5 – Noah Hanifin
Team: Calgary Flames (NHL)
Acquired via Trade on June 23, 2018
Last Year’s Ranking: #4
Noah Hanifin’s first season in Calgary was a pretty solid one after being part of the blockbuster trade last summer with the Carolina Hurricanes. He set a career in high points for the third consecutive season and dressed in 80 games in 2018-19. At only 22 years old, Hanifin already has 319 NHL games under his belt, which is 32 more than anyone else from his draft class.
After the Flames struggled to find a reliable second pairing in 2017-18, Hanifin and Travis Hamonic really gelled well as the season continued, and it was a major reason for the latter’s bounceback season. Hanifin also spent a lot of time on the penalty kill and performed quite well there as well.
Hanifin was fairly sheltered during his time in Carolina, but he was thrust into a consistent Top 4 role in tougher situations with Calgary and really started to improve as the season continued. At only 22, there’s a lot of time left for Hanifin to continue to improve, and chances are that he’ll really start outplaying his contract in the near future. The ceiling for Hanifin has always been the question, so we’ll see if he can take another step forward in 2019-20.
by Michael MacGillivray