Grading the Calgary Flames trade of Noah Hanifin to the Vegas Golden Knights

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
4 months ago
Noah Hanifin is a Vegas Golden Knight. On Wednesday night, the Flames sent their pending UFA defenceman to Vegas in exchange for a conditional 2025 first-round pick, a conditional 2025 third-round pick, and 26-year-old, right shot defenceman, Daniil Miromanov.
Overall, I think the Flames did the best they could in this trade and should be looked at as more of a positive than a negative.
Firstly, the Flames got assets in exchange for Hanifin. That may sound incredibly basic and something that should not be applauded. But it’s something that needs to be taken into consideration because in the past the Flames may have held on to this player for the stretch drive to help sneak them into the playoffs. Just look at the 2019-20 season when they held on to Travis Hamonic and TJ Brodie. The 2021 season when they kept Mark Giordano with an upcoming expansion draft looming. Even this season when Flames ownership shut down a Jacob Markstrom deal in part because he is playing so well this season and they believe they are in a playoff race.
The fact that the Flames did not do that with Hanifin is a win for the long-term future of the organization and an indication that Conroy is building for tomorrow.
Calgary now has more cap flexibility over the next nine seasons to help shape their roster in Conroy’s mould. Had the Flames signed Hanifin, they would have been paying him between $7.5-$8 million for the next eight seasons. That’s a lot of money to give to a soon to be 28-year-old when you’re at the very beginning of a long term rebuild. Especially when you consider how much money the Flames already have tied up in veteran players, which doesn’t include Rasmus Andersson who will be 30 when he signs his next contact.
Hanifin was having a career year. Something that’s not likely going to be replicated multiple times over the next eight seasons. Paying pending UFAs coming off career years doesn’t work out as much as teams would like. Just look at Jonathan Huberdeau and Johnny Gaudreau. You’re paying Hanifin to be the guy he is this season for the next eight. I don’t think he would have lived up to that deal.
There has been a lot of talk about the Flames not getting enough for Hanifin. But when you look at a couple different comparables over the last few seasons, it is right on point.
Hanifin is a comparable player to Provorov, Hronek, and Ristolainen. Their contract situations aren’t exactly the same as Hanifin is a pending UFA unlike the other three. Yet the Flames were able to get as much or more for Hanifin as an older, pending UFA than the Flyers got for Provorov, the Red Wings got for Hronek, and the Sabres got for Ristolainen.
On top of all that, the contending teams who may have been interested in Hanifin all had limited assets to work with. Florida and Tampa Bay don’t have first round picks in the next two drafts. Boston spent a ton of draft capital in the last two seasons on Hampus Lindholm, Dmitry Orlov, Garnett Hathaway and Tyler Bertuzzi. The majority of interested parties, and teams who Hanifin would actually sign with just didn’t have the quantity or quality to pull off a huge trade with the Flames.
Pat Brisson didn’t do the Flames any favours either. According to multiple reporters and insiders, Hanifin’s agent, Pat Brisson, was reaching out to interested teams in Hanifin to let them know that his client wouldn’t be signing a long-term extension with teams not named Tampa Bay, Florida and Vegas. That in theory would bring down the trade value for the player as he would be considered a pure rental for every team in the NHL outside the preferred destinations of Hanifin.
When you take into consideration all the factors at play in this wild Hanifin trade scenario, the Flames did a good job getting the value they did for the player. He was a pending UFA who was clearly not going to sign with them long term. The fact they were able to get a first-round pick, a second/third round pick, and a player they just signed to a two-year extension is a job well done and should be looked at more favourably among Flames. fans.

Trade Grade: B+

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