Why the Calgary Flames should trade Noah Hanifin

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
5 months ago
Craig Conroy and the Calgary Flames are going to be making a lot of important decisions for the future of the Calgary Flames. Near the top of the list is whether to trade or extend defenseman Noah Hanifin.
This is a decision that will impact the Flames for the next 8+ seasons. Should the Flames keep Hanifin? Or should they trade him?
I think the Flames have to trade Hanifin. Here’s why.

The Calgary Flames need to build for the future

The Flames are not in a position as an organization to be signing 27-year-old players to eight-year contracts that take them into their mid-30s. This is an organization that needs to embark on a serious re-tool. It’s imperative for the Flames to do everything they can to maximize their most valuable assets on the trade market.
This group of players and prospects in the Flames organization as currently constructed are not good enough to build a legitimate, long term, Stanley Cup contender with. So why would the Flames want to keep this group together?
If the Flames were regularly making the playoffs and knocking on the door of winning a Stanley Cup, then yes, signing Hanifin would probably be a good idea. But that’s just not the case.
Conroy needs to bring in more draft picks to build the next core of the Calgary Flames that can become a contender. Hanifin is only going to help the Flames stay close to the middle over the next few years. The worst place to be in the NHL.

The trade return

I wrote about this topic on Wednesday. The Calgary Flames could potentially get a large haul of picks and prospects in a Hanifin trade.
Just take a look at the returns other team have got for defensemen who are in a similar group as Hanifin:
If those types of trade packages are offered to the Flames, they have to take it. The Flames should do everything in their power to build a young, skilled team with high end talent that can start to contend by the time the new arena opens. Getting a first round pick and more future based pieces for Hanifin would help you build that next core group of players who can get you to the place you want to be.

Opportunity cost

The Flames will miss out on the chance to add multiple prospects to their organization if they decide to sign Hanifin. By the time the team should good again they will have a 30-32 year old Hanifin making $7.5 million on the cap instead of the potential of multiple young, skilled, cost controlled players that you can have in your organization for a long time.
As boring as it may sound, draft picks and cap space are two of the most valuable assets a team can possess in a salary cap world. Conroy has to be incredibly careful about the salary structure of his team moving forward because of the Jonathan Huberdeau contract. This organization can’t afford to be giving out massive deals to players into their 30s or else it’s going to come back to bite them when they need to sign their new core of young players.

Does Hanifin really want to be a Flame? 

This should be a concern for Conroy if he were to sign Hanifin to an eight year, $60M contract. Does Hanifin truly want to be a Calgary Flame moving forward? Or is he only going to sign because of the massive contract you offered him?
In his introductory press conference, Conroy stated multiple times that he wants players who want to be Calgary Flames and not just come to the city to chase money. “I want people who want to be a part of the Calgary Flames and that want to be here. Not just coming here to get a contract and get the money. That doesn’t interest me at all. I want them to come to be a part of this and do something special here.”
Conroy doesn’t want players to play for the Flames just for the money. If that’s the case, why would they offer Hanifin a deal in the range of eight year, $7.5 million AAV? The fact Hanifin didn’t take that should tell management everything they need to know. If Hanifin truly wanted to be a Flame, he would have already been signed by now.
The idea of trading Hanifin has everything to do with the situation the Calgary Flames find themselves in right now, not the player himself. And that situation is a team who can’t find it’s way out of the mushy middle, with a lot of money already tied up in older players who aren’t going to get you to the promise land of winning a Stanley Cup. Hanifin is a good player. He’s been a solid Calgary Flame for almost six seasons. But now is not the time to commit $7.5 million of cap space over eight years to a second pairing defenseman into his mid thirties.
Should the Flames keep Noah Hanifin? Or trade him before the trade deadline? Let us know in the comments!

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