The Calgary Flames entered the season with eight pending unrestricted free agents (UFAs), and very little progress made on trades or extensions for any of them. One of the biggest names is Noah Hanifin, who indicated after the 2022–23 season that signing long-term in Calgary may not be in the cards. After a very quiet summer, the tune has changed in regard to Hanifin’s future in Calgary.
An update on Hanifin’s contract status
The most recent news from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is that progress is being made on an extension with the Flames that would keep Hanifin in Flames silks long term.
Hanifin is off to a great start this season and has served as the team’s number-one left defenceman. He is second on the team in total time on ice this season with 114:09 and leads the team in defence scoring four points in five games.
He is in the final year of a six-year contract with an AAV of $4.95M, sure to receive a significant pay bump on his next deal. Hanifin is 26 years old and will be 27 when the next deal kicks in. If he signs an eight-year pact, that would take him to his 35-year-old season, not too bad for a silky defenceman. What makes Hanifin unique is that he’s put a lot of miles on his tires with 603 NHL games played to date.
The Flames don’t have a deep left-side blueline, so locking up Hanifin would fill an organizational need going forward. Behind Hanifin, the left-shot defenders in the system are Nikita Zadorov (pending UFA), Jordan Oesterle (pending UFA), Dennis Gilbert (pending UFA), and Oliver Kylington (away from the team). In the minors, the two best defence prospects in the system are Ilya Solovyov and Jeremie Poirier, but there aren’t many players of interest after that.
Of course, nothing is done until the contract is signed, but this is a significant development for one of the Flames’ most key pending UFAs.