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Flames Ask For Hanifin Stays High; Bruins Interested



NHL free agency opened on Saturday, but talk around the Calgary Flames continues to centre around who they’re need to move out rather than who they might bring in on the open market.

Noah Hanifin is tops on that list as the Flames continue to hope they can extend one or both of their top Swedish centres Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund. And the price is very high.

Flames GM Craig Conroy’s first move on the NHL trade market saw him send veteran winger Tyler Toffoli to New Jersey for Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round pick the franchise used to pick Russian left-winger Aydar Suniev on Thursday. There was disappointment in the draft pick considering the Flames gave up a first-round selection to bring Toffoli in, but Sharangovich will get every opportunity to prove he can elevate his play and become a perennial 20-goal scorer in a top-six role with the Calgary Flames.

With Hanifin, Saturday’s free agent signings certainly showed the value of solid defencemen. Dmitry Orlov landed a massive two-year deal at a $7.75 AAV. Lesser names out there still earned solid paycheques with Ryan Graves getting a six-year deal worth $27M, Radko Gudas taking in $4M for the next three years, Carson Soucy earning a three-year, $9.75M pact, and Connor Clifton, Erik Johnson, Justin Holl and Ian Cole all getting contracts worth at least $3M/year in the opening hours of free agency.

Hanifin is on another level. He was two points shy of 50 two seasons ago and two short of 40 in a tough season this year. He plays all situation and logs big minutes for the Flames – a quality every covets in a cornerstone.

Former NHL GM Pierre McGuire joined Boston Hockey Now’s podcast this week and talked about the cost Conroy is demanding for any deal with Hanifin.

“It’s high, and I’ll tell you why it’s high,” McGuire told BHN’s Jimmy Murphy.

“I’ve known Noah a long time, watched him a ton; he’s a very good player — big body who can really skate and log minutes — so his value around the league would be very high.” 

McGuire suggested the return would have to include at least one “established” NHLer because Conroy’s mission hasn’t changed much from the one he has as an assistant GM.

“I think you gotta have at least one established NHL player going into Calgary because there’s going to be a lot of scrutiny on their group,” McGuire suggested.   

“Craig got the job there, and he’s been working there a long time, so his fingerprints are on part of it too. If you’re going to replace a general manager like a guy in Treliving, and you’re going to bring in his assistant, and he can’t get the team to the next level, that’s going to be a problem. So I think that if you move a guy like Noah Hanifin that’s playing over 20 minutes a game and you don’t get some kind of NHL body compensation back, that’s a bit of a problem.” 

There were links to Florida and winger Anthony Duclair, but Duclair was dealt to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

A source suggests the Bruins are interested,

with prospect Fabian Lysell being dangled and blueliners Brandon Carlo and Derek Forbort mentioned as roster players.

Lysell is a Swede who has played two years in North America as a first-round pick in 2021. He had 14 goals and 37 points in 54 games with the Providence Bruins in the AHL last season. He led the Vancouver Giants in scoring the previous season — his only one in the WHL.

There’s upside, but not enough to make that a legitimate package. Carlo is the right age at 26, and of the Chris Tanev mould as a physical player and penalty kill specialist. Forbort has already had a brief spin in Calgary and  it’s had to imagine a world in which he’s the preferred option there.

The NHL trade deadline cost for players like Hanifin is usually a top pick, higher end prospect and roster player, so keep that in mind as things progress.

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