NHL Rumor Mill – August 9, 2023
UPDATE ON NOAH HANIFIN
THE ATHLETIC: Julian McKenzie wonders if the Calgary Flames will attempt to capitalize on Noah Hanifin’s trade value now that Erik Karlsson is off the market. The 26-year-old defenseman is in the final season of his contract and has reportedly informed the Flames he’s not interested in an extension.
McKenzie had previously suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers as possible trade destinations for Hanifin. At one point in late June, there was speculation suggesting the Sabres and Flames had emerged as primary suitors.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has reported Hanifin wants to continue his playing career in the United States. Of the clubs previously mentioned, the Sabres and Predators are the only ones now with sufficient cap space to absorb his $4.95 million cap hit. McKenzie also noted the Detroit Red Wings also have cap space if they were interested in the Flames blueliner.
McKenzie speculates the Flames would likely want a return involving younger players who can help their roster right away. Draft picks also wouldn’t hurt as they need to improve their prospect pipeline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are pressed against the $83.5 million salary cap for this season so they can’t afford to retain part of Hanifin’s cap hit. Perhaps they might consider a dollar-in, dollar-out scenario if it nets them a quality player in his mid-twenties.
Hanifin would provide a boost to the respective bluelines of the Sabres, Red Wings and Predators. However, there’s no certainty that they’re interested in making a significant offseason trade. They could be willing to wait and see how the season progresses before making any major upgrades.
LATEST ON KEVIN LABANC
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Max Miller recently mused over Kevin Labanc’s trade value. The 27-year-old San Jose Sharks winger is slated to become a UFA next summer and is likely to be shopped before this season’s trade deadline.
Labanc’s value has diminished enough that Sharks general manager Mike Grier might be willing to retain part of his $4.725 million cap hit to facilitate a trade. Miller believes the Sharks must move him soon or risk his value plummeting further.
It was rumored last month that the Sharks may have had a deal in place with the Vancouver Canucks swapping Labanc for defenseman Tyler Myers. Miller speculates the holdup could be Myers being owed a $5 million signing bonus on Sept. 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out soon enough if the rumored Labanc-for-Myers trade comes to fruition. If it doesn’t, the Sharks might end up having to start the season with Labanc on the roster and hope that he can play well enough to draw some interest before the trade deadline.