It appears that the waiting game is coming to an impasse for rookie general manager and the Calgary Flames when it comes to pending unrestricted free agent Noah Hanifin.
TSN Analyst Chris Johnston weighed in on the 27-year-old smooth skating defenceman’s status during a segment of Insider Trading on Tuesday, Feb. 6:
“And I would expect in the coming days we will get some sort of idea of where it’s headed definitively, and that’s because Hanifin’s agents from CAA Sports are expected to have a conversation with Flames management where they present their final decision, where there’s something to be decided upon and that will ultimately propel this thing forward. And what we don’t know exactly which way that will go, I think it’s safe to say that if Calgary is not able to reach some kind of contract extension with Hanifin, they will use the time between now and March 8 to find a suitor, somewhere to trade him, and so we’ll keep our eyes on that.”
TSN isn’t the only insider network relaying these sentiments. Elliotte Friedman weighed in on the situation during last Friday’s 32 Thoughts: The Podcast.
“They want an answer from Hanifin. I would suspect that they’ve asked for it in the near future, and just said, ‘Hey, are you staying or are you going?’
“If he’s leaving, they have to go out and start putting him out there. I think that is something they’ve asked Hanifin to decide over the break or in the very near future.”
The Calgary Flames will be vastly impacted by Hanifin’s absence or presence over the next seven to eight seasons. The 6-foot-3 blue liner led all Flames players in ice time (25:46) during their most recent outing, a 4-1 win over the Bruins, and the Boston College grad trails only Rasmus Andersson in ice time per game in 2023-2024 with an average of 23:33.
An NHLer since the age of 18, Hanifin has nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points in 50 games this season. His current production has the Boston, Mass. native on pace for 15 goals and 28 assists for 43 points.
If He Signs
If Noah were to extend with Calgary, you can expect a raise on a few notable industry-comparable contract extensions. Hampus Lindholm’s eight-year, $52,000,000 deal and MacKenzie Weegar’s eight-year, $50,000,000 deal will likely serve as the ballpark of Hanifin’s next contract. Given that the cap is expected to go up to $87,700,000 during the 2024 offseason, an eight-year deal in the $60,000,000 range is expected. That total averages out to around $7,500,000 per season.
If He Opts to Sign Elsewhere
Boston, San Jose, and Arizona have been rumored to have shown interest in the past if Noah Hanifin wants to find a new organization to play for.
Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now has quoted sources close to the situation in Boston claiming that the Bruins are a player in the Noah Hanifin sweeps. Elliotte Friedman also pointed out the Coyotes and Sharks as bidders in early December.
On Nov. 30, 2023, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic confirmed reports that Hanifin had halted talks on an extension with the Calgary Flames. LeBrun also 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.”
Dramatic times for Craig Conroy, Don Maloney and the rest of the Calgary Flames brain trust. Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov have already been moved. Chris Tanev appears to have vaulted to the top of trade boards, and if he decides to move on, Noah Hanifin will join him.