It appears that a stealth market is forming for soon-to-be UFA-status defenceman Noah Hanifin of the Calgary Flames.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently gave a brief inside look at Calgary’s quiet bidding war for Hanifin on a Dec. 5 episode of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast.
“They have shown an interest in adding this year. You know the Hanifin thing, they (the Coyotes) kicked tires in Hanifin. More than kicked tires on Hanifin. They were interested.”
It should be no surprise that teams are calling on the services of the 26-year-old. Hanifin’s top end speed and defence off the rush spell “first pairing” on most blue lines in the NHL. Projecting at a 17 goal, 41 point pace this season – offence prowess isn’t in question either. The only question is the price.
Jumping back to November 8, Friedman also claimed that he had heard the Sharks were inquiring about Hanifin. “Kinda suspect the Sharks called Calgary about Noah Hanifin …”
Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now confirmed with a source close to the situation that Boston is likely flying under the radar as a bidder for the nine-season NHL veteran. “If I was a betting man, I’d be betting on the Bruins to eventually get Hanifin. I’d be shocked if Boston isn’t at the front of the line there,” the source said.
On Nov. 30, Athletic NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun confirmed reports that Hanifin had halted talks on an extension with Calgary. LeBrun confirmed that the Flames were closing in on an eight-year, roughly $60 million deal, which would have carried an average annual value of around $7.5 million. Pierre would not rule out the concept of a sign-and-trade for the Flames.
“I still expect, for example, Hanifin to get dealt at some point.” LeBrun said. “In his case, 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.”
It appears that rookie General Manager Craig Conroy has been busy on the phones generating a market for the former Carolina Hurricane during his rookie season as general manager.