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What would a Noah Hanifin trade do to the Calgary Flames’ roster depth?

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Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
8 months ago
There are two Calgary Flames players that fans seem to think will likely be traded before the start of the regular season: goaltender Dan Vladar and defender Noah Hanifin. Due to the emergence of Dustin Wolf, Vladar’s move seems both prudent and inevitable for everybody involved.
Hanifin’s a pending unrestricted free agent who has reportedly told the club he’s not going to re-sign, so a trade is prudent there, too. But what would a Hanifin trade remove from the Flames’ roster?
Hanifin’s 26-year-old left shot defender who exclusively plays the left side. He’s been a top four fixture with the Flames since arriving in 2018, and he’s typically heavily relied-upon at five-on-five and both sides of special teams. Typically whatever pairing Rasmus Andersson is on should be considered the top pairing due to quality of competition and usage, but Hanifin regularly plays with him. Offensively, Hanifin’s settled in just below the half-a-point per game level for the past several seasons.
So if you disappear Hanifin from the Flames’ blueline without replacing him with an NHL-level defender, what does that make the Flames’ depth chart look like?
Here’s a fast and loose rundown of how the Flames’ and Wranglers’ bluelines look without Hanifin:
Flames:
MacKenzie Weegar – Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington – Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov – Jordan Oesterle
(Dennis Gilbert)
Wranglers:
Jeremie Poirier – Colton Poolman
Ilya Solovyov – Nick DeSimone
Yan Kuznetsov – Brady Lyle
(Jarrod Gourley)
With Hanifin in the fold, the Flames probably try to sneak Gilbert through waivers. If that works, the first two call-up options are probably Gilbert and DeSimone, which gives the Flames a buffer to keep Poirier, Kuznetsov and Solovyov developing in the AHL rather than throwing them into the NHL’s deep end.
Taking away Hanifin, and not replacing him with an NHL-level defender, would have two impacts: suddenly Oliver Kylington (or Nikita Zadorov) are forced into a top-four role out of necessity, and suddenly the Flames have DeSimone as their lone call-up option from the AHL before they have to delve into more untested options.
Suffice it to say, the Flames don’t need to get a blueliner back in any Hanifin swap. But their organizational depth is quite a bit different if he’s traded and they don’t get another defender back in return. Heck, even getting another third-pairing option like an Oesterle or Gilbert would provide them with some depth and versatility.

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