Noah Hanifin is a very movable piece for the Calgary Flames this off-season
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
13 days ago
The Calgary Flames did not sell at the trade deadline, and they didn’t do much buying either. Both general manager Brad Treliving and forward Blake Coleman expressed that they believe this team is good enough to win games and get into the playoffs. However, we have yet to see that come to fruition. Head coach Darryl Sutter challenged goaltender Jacob Markstrom by saying he has to be better. He has been, but despite that, the scoring hasn’t shown up to help out.
At this point, it’s unsurprising that most of the fanbase is fed up. Things just aren’t clicking on the ice consistently, and it doesn’t feel like the team is going to find a way out of the rut, as they’ve been in it all season long. So, the first thing on the minds of everyone consistently watching this team? Sell, sell, sell.
The Flames notably have seven players that will be unrestricted free agents at the end of next season. One of them is Noah Hanifin, who was drafted 5th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in the infamous 2015 NHL Entry Draft and then traded to the Flames during the 2018 Draft in a massive deal that also brought them Elias Lindholm and notably sent away Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and the rights to Adam Fox.
Hanifin has provided plenty of value in the top-four of the Flames’ defence core since coming over in that deal. He was signed to a 6-year, $29.7 million deal worth $4.95 million per season after he was moved, and now that the deal is almost up, the Flames should seriously consider moving on from him.
Hanifin’s production last season was the best of his career. He scored 48 points in 81 games, and he tied his career high in goals with 10. This season, though, it has been down. He’s on pace for 36 points over the rest of the season, which would be the second-highest in his career. What’s interesting is that he only has four goals to this point, and he’s shooting at the lowest percentage of his career at 2.9 percent.
Hanifin is averaging a career-high time on ice at 22:37, and at this point, he has 11 more shot blocks and counting than his previous career high. Even his analytics have mostly been strong in 2022-23. He has a 3.9 goals above replacement (GAR) and a 1.0 expected goals above replacement (xGAR) per Evolving-Hockey, which are 10th and 18th on the Flames, respectively.
Although he is an effective top-four defenceman to this team, the Flames should capitalize on his value while they have the chance. They will have to work around his modified no-trade clause, which he submitted an eight-team no-trade list. However, I’m sure the deal can get done, as many teams are in the hunt for a defenceman of his stature with his handedness and offensive capabilities.
Not only is Hanifin a productive player with a defensive value that doesn’t hurt his overall analytical output, but he’s also on a very team-friendly deal that would make it easier for a contender to take advantage of over the off-season.
General manager Brad Treliving waiting to sell was the wrong decision in the eyes of many. And even though the Flames just beat the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild on back-to-back nights, Hanifin had a couple rough games, turning the puck over multiple times, with two of them resulting in goals against in the Dallas game. Nonetheless, he is usually pretty steady, and if things don’t go the way that the Flames organization members want them to this season, management should seriously look at moving the 26-year-old defenceman.
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