2. Noah Hanifin, Calgary Flames
Norwood, Mass. native and Boston College product Noah Hanifin could be due for a homecoming. The defenseman is another trade target playing out the last year of his deal, and seems poised to be one of the next casualties of Calgary's fire sale.
Hanifin is a former fifth overall pick who has skated in 630 NHL games at only 26 years old. In 32 games this season, the blueliner has 17 points and is logging a career-high 23:16 time on ice per game. Hanifin would rank third among Bruins skaters in time on ice, behind only Charlie McAvoy (24:09) and Hampus Lindholm (23:51).
NHL insider Pierre LeBrun speculates that a trade of Hanifin would likely coincide with a contract extension: "In his case, the idea from everyone involved is that he gets dealt as a signed player – that there's an extension in place for him wherever he ends up." Hanifin held off on signing an eight-year extension in the range of $7.5 million annually to see how Calgary would perform this season. Those contract parameters establish a baseline framework for whichever team acquires his services.
If Hanifin is truly committed to the sign-and-trade route as LeBrun reported, he could maintain significant leverage in Calgary's trade negotiations. The Flames would likely be more inclined to deal Hanifin to a franchise where both parties are interested in an extension to maximize their return. Sweeney and Neely will have their fingers crossed that a hometown reunion is on Hanifin's destination list.