Bruins Bring in Perfect Hometown Addition in Latest Trade Speculation

Calgary Flames Defenseman Noah Hanifin Has Been Linked to Boston
Nov 21, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin (55) is
Nov 21, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin (55) is / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

For the second-straight season, the Boston Bruins are flying out of the gate. Boston only has four regulation losses through 24 games, and the B's are tied for the league lead in points.

Despite their impressive start, the Bruins are scouring the league for reinforcements for another playoff push. One such trade might bring a local kid home.

Bruins Trade Rumors: Noah Hanifin is the Perfect Addition

Calgary Flames blueliner Noah Hanifin, a Norwood, Mass. native and Boston College product, has been strongly linked to his hometown team.

Hanifin is an unrestricted free agent after this season, so Don Sweeney may look to swing a trade-and-sign akin to the team's deal for Hampus Lindholm in 2022.

In that deal, Boston traded for Lindholm in the last year of his contract, and immediately signed him to an 8-year, $52 million extension the next day. TSN NHL insider Pierre LeBrun agrees that Sweeney will take a similar approach with Hanifin: "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."

LeBrun reported in November that the Flames had extended an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $7.5 million to Hanifin, but Calgary's blue-liner wanted to see if the team would be a contender before he put pen to paper on the contract. The Flames are on the outside looking in on the playoffs, while the Bruins are tied for the NHL lead in points. If Hanifin is interested in playing for a contender, Boston's performance over the last two seasons, combined with the chance to play for his hometown team, should make the Bruins a desirable destination for him.

For Bruins fans, Scott McLaughlin's scouting report lays out below what they could expect.

"He’s also a 6-foot-3, 207-pound first-pairing defenseman in his prime at 26 years old. He’s a left shot who plays in all situations. He has averaged 42 points per season over the last two-plus years, including 12 points in 24 games this season. He is extremely durable and dependable, missing a grand total of 20 games in his nine-year NHL career."

Scouting Report From Scott McLaughlin

Only 26, Hanifin is a seasoned veteran already with an impressive 623 games under his belt.

Hanifin is a Massachusetts kid through and through. Hanifin was born in Boston and raised in Norwood. He attended Saint Sebastian's school in Needham before playing one season at Boston College. Hanifin made Saint Sebastian's varsity squad as an eighth-grader, and he became the second-youngest ever player at BC when he suited up as a 17 year-old.

After his freshman season at BC, Hanifin was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. After three seasons with Carolina, he was shipped to Calgary as part of an offseason blockbuster trade.

Due to the salary cap restrictions, Boston would almost certainly have to part with a player on the NHL roster in exchange for Hanifin. The odd man out would likely be another Massachusetts native and left-shot defenseman, Matt Grzelcyk.

On Monday, the NHL informed executives and owners that the salary cap for next season is expected to increase from $83.5 million to $87.7 million. This alleviates some strain for the Bruins, who have been up against the hard salary cap for the last few seasons. If Hanifin did sign with the Bruins in the neighborhood of LeBrun's $7.5 million, Boston would have $23.5 million tied up among three defensemen (Charlie McAvoy, Lindholm, and Hanifin).

Although the NHL Trade Deadline isn't until March 8, Calgary has already shown that they are willing to start offloading assets now, as they shipped d-man Nikita Zadorov to Vancouver on Nov. 30. Flames Center Elias Lindholm's name has also been prominent in trade rumors.

Hanifin would add to the Bruins' extensive local talent. Boston has seven current players who are either New England natives or played their collegiate hockey in the region.

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