NHL Trade Deadline 2024: 4 Landing Spots for Noah Hanifin

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Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin skates against the Dallas Stars during the first period of Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Friday, May 13, 2022, in Dallas.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Michael DeRosa @ Feb 29, 2024, 10:37 AM

The Flames made a massive move on Feb. 28, trading Chris Tanev to the Stars. However, they are not done yet, as star defenseman Noah Hanifin is also expected to be moved. The left-shot defenseman is a pending UFA, and he is believed to want to play in the United States.

Needless to say, the Flames have no choice but to move him. 

With Hanifin being a top-pairing defenseman who plays a highly reliable game defensively and produces offensively, he has been generating a ton of interest. However, which four teams have the best chances of landing him? Let’s discuss them now. 

Hanifin Trade Prediction: Lightning

The Lightning need to be watched when it comes to the Hanifin sweepstakes. They have been heavily linked to him, and it makes sense with Mikhail Sergachev being out indefinitely. NHL insider Frank Seravalli also recently reported that Hanifin’s preferred landing spot is the Lightning. Thus, there’s a match here.

If the Lightning acquired Hanifin, he would be a strong fit on the left side of their second pairing. However, he also could work on the top pairing if he is open to playing on the right side. In either scenario, the Lightning’s top four would get a much-needed boost. 

The Lightning have limited cap space, so they need to get creative to land Hanifin at the deadline. However, with interest from both parties, the Lightning look like potential frontrunners. 

Hanifin Trade Prediction: Bruins

The Bruins have been heavily linked to Hanifin for quite some time. They not only tried to acquire him during this past offseason but even tried to move up in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft to select him. They love the Massachusetts native’s play, and now they have a golden chance to try to land him again.

The Bruins desperately need help on the left side of their defensive group, too. Hampus Lindholm is out week-to-week, while Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort have struggled this season. Bringing in Hanifin would give them a massive upgrade to their top pairing. With that, he would work on both their power play and their penalty kill. 

The one thing going against the Bruins in a potential Hanifin trade with the Flames is their limited prospect pool and cap space. As a result, they would likely need to part ways with at least one roster player, along with other assets, in a potential move. 

Hanifin Trade Prediction: Devils 

The Devils have also been connected to Hanifin for much of this season. However, with their playoff hopes decreasing, they are now in a position to make a significant splash to try to save their season. With their defensive group needing a boost, they surely could step up their efforts to land him. 

The Devils would be wise to add a high-impact defenseman like Hanifin right now. Dougie Hamilton is out indefinitely, and the Devils have been struggling without him. As a result, bringing in a steady top-pairing defenseman like Hanifin could help the Devils turn things back around.

The Devils also have the cap space and prospect pool to give the Flames what they are expecting for Hanifin. 

Hanifin Trade Prediction: Maple Leafs

While Hanifin’s expected preference is to sign his next contract with a US team, he could still be a big-time rental for the Maple Leafs. Toronto has been heavily connected to him during this season, and it is not a secret that their defense needs significant improvement if they hope to go on a run this campaign. 

If the Maple Leafs acquired Hanifin, he could form an elite top pairing with fellow star defenseman Morgan Rielly. However, if they wanted to spread out their talent, they could play Hanifin on their second pairing with Jake McCabe. With that, he would greatly improve their penalty kill. 

The Maple Leafs need a big move to cement themselves as legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference, and there may not be a better player for them to make a push for than Hanifin. 

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