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Friedman: Calgary Flames blueliner Noah Hanifin ‘is going to the market’

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Photo credit:© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
It seems like every week on Sportsnet’s Headlines segment, Elliotte Friedman is dropping news items about the Calgary Flames and their pending unrestricted free agents. With just two major UFAs left – Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev – Friedman had another update this Saturday, this one centring on Hanifin.
While Friedman noted that neither the player’s agent or the Flames have commented, it sure does sound like he’s given them their answer and will be “going to the market.”
Here’s Friedman:
Every week I say ‘I’m not going to talk about the Flames, Ron.’ It’s too much. I think it’s too much for the organization and the players, to be perfectly honest. But it’s very difficult to avoid it because I think a lot of teams are waiting on Calgary, even though they’ve made two trades already, for the other two to three they could possibly make.
Now, the team isn’t commenting, the agent isn’t commenting, but it’s pretty clear from just everything we learned today that Noah Hanifin is going to the market. And I think there are Canadian teams interested in him, but I think long-term the U.S. teams are more confident that they’re going to be the ones that are able to sign him. But it’s very clear to me without any confirmation from team or agent that Noah Hanifin is going to market, and the action has picked up around them.
When it comes to Jacob Markstrom, who we talked about last week, I just think it’s tough to watch him today. He’s played great, nobody’s blaming him, of course. I just think it’s a situation where he’s said ‘Look, when you have an offer bring it to me and I’ll make my decision.’
Hanifin, 27, is in the final year of a six year deal carrying a $4.95 million cap hit. He’s been a fixture in the Flames’ top four for awhile, and he’s formed pretty effective pairings with both Rasmus Andersson and Chris Tanev. Hanifin has 30 points and a plus-10 rating in 55 games this season. His deal carries an eight team no-trade list, per Cap Friendly, so he does have some degree of control over where he goes. If he’s hit the market – and it’s Friedman, so we’re pretty sure that’s the case – he’ll be a hot commodity for teams looking to bolster their blueline prior to the playoffs.
Markstrom, 34, is in the fourth year of a six year deal carrying a $6 million cap hit. He’s been really, really good for the Flames. After a tough start for both him and the team as a whole, he’s worked his way into the Vezina Trophy conversation with some excellent performances. When you control for the quality of the chances he faces – using the Goals Saved Above Expected stat from various analytics models – he’s among the very best goalies in the NHL. He has a full no-move clause with his deal, so if he moves it’ll only be somewhere he wants to go. (Friedman reported last week that the Flames and Devils had “legit conversations” regarding a trade involving Markstrom, but failed to result in a swap.)
The 2023-24 trade deadline is Friday, March 8 at 1 p.m. MT.
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