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Panthers at the height of the race for Noah Hanifin’s services
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
A few weeks ago, the Flames started to clean house. First, they sent Elias Lindholm to Vancouver.

Then, a few days ago, they parted ways with one of the most coveted defensemen on the market: Brandon Tanev.

Now, another defenseman is attracting interest. Noah Hanifin is in the sights of the Panthers, who are said to be at the height of the race, and the Bruins. The two Atlantic clubs are fighting for first place in the division.

Hanifin is a left-handed defenseman earning $4.95 million through July 1. He will become an unrestricted free agent.

The Boston native has a no-trade clause in his contract. He can decide to which of the eight teams he wishes not to be traded. I have a feeling that the Panthers and Bruins wouldn’t be on that list, anyway.

With Tanev’s departure, David Savard becomes even more attractive to general managers. With one week to go before the trade deadline, they should be able to convince Kent Hughes to trade his right-handed defenseman.

But until the price is right, the Montreal GM won’t budge. Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin discussed this in their latest podcast.

But if Hanifin were to leave soon, just a few days before March 8, Hughes could smile even more. The number of defensemen on the market would be even lower, and several teams would still be interested in defensive defensemen (like Savard).

I can’t wait to see what Hanifin’s price tag will be. After all, I think he’s worth more than his former teammate Tanev.

Should Florida decide to acquire him, GM Bill Zito will have some big decisions to make this summer. Brandon Montour and Gustav Forsling will also become UFAs.

A guy named BucciOT.Com on X would sign all three defensemen and trade former 2014 first overall draft pick Aaron Ekblad. The right-hander will become a free agent in 2025.

It’s far from a crazy idea.

In bursts

– He’s having quite a season, that one.

– It’s a good thing Nick Suzuki and his trio are here

– Well, let’s see…

– Good question.

– His first two in MLS.

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