Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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NHL trade grades: Golden Knights swing for the fences with Noah Hanifin acquisition

The Vegas Golden Knights once again made one of the biggest splashes at the trade deadline by acquiring star defenseman Noah Hanifin in a three-team trade with the Calgary Flames.

In exchange for Hanifin’s services, the Flames received defenseman Daniil Miromanov, a 2025 or 2026 first-round pick, and a conditional third-round pick. The first-round pick will be in 2025 unless the Golden Knights trade it this year. The Flyers netted a 2024 fifth-round pick as a broker in the deal.

The Golden Knights certainly saw the need to upgrade their defensive core with Alec Martinez currently being sidelined. It seemed to be a necessary move for the defending Stanley Cup champions that are clearly going for it all once again in 2023-24.

Meanwhile, the Flames were hamstrung a bit when it comes to Hanifin after the two sides couldn’t agree to terms on a contract extension. Hanifin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, so the return may have been more limited than the franchise would’ve liked. With that being said, Calgary still managed to land more draft capital as well as a talented young blue-liner in the process.

Both sides did well in this particular trade, so let’s take a closer look at what each team is receiving in this blockbuster deal.

The deal

  • To Vegas: Noah Hanifin
  • To Calgary: Daniil Miromanov, a 2025 or 2026 first-round pick, and a conditional 2024 third-round pick
  • To Philadelphia: a 2024 fifth-round pick

Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights are just months removed from hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. It’s truly clear Vegas isn’t complacent by any means as it’s clearly going for it all once again.

Hanifin gives the Golden Knights an elite defenseman they can pair with Alex Pietrangelo. The former Flames standout offers Vegas more offensive versatility at the position than they’ve had to this point. 

Hanifin is scoring on a career-best 8.9% of his shots, and scoring from the point is something the Golden Knights could use a little more of. Prior to the trade, Vegas’ best scoring defenseman was Shea Theodore, who is scoring on 6.3% of his shots. In total, Vegas has received just 21 goals from their blue line, so Hanifin could really provide quite an uptick in that department.

The 27-year-old offers the total package when it comes to a defenseman. Hanifin is an above-average puck-mover and possesses a tremendous skating ability. He’s also a very physical defenseman as he’s registered 89 blocked shots and 46 hits this season. Hanifin has a very active stick in the passing lane as he’s tallied 43 takeaways on the year.

The veteran defenseman is on pace for 47 points in 2023-24, which would be just one short of tying a career-high. Hanifin likely will garner more opportunities in the offensive zone with the Golden Knights, who possess a very dynamic group of playmakers.

All in all, this was a massive swing for the fences by the Golden Knights as they’ve showed they’re not afraid to pony up and acquire top-tier assets. Hanifin certainly has the potential to be a true difference maker on a Stanley Cup-contending team, and is even more of a slam dunk if Vegas can sign him to a contract extension at some point. Grade — A-

Calgary Flames

Flames general manager Craig Conroy was saddled with an unenviable task of attempting to turn around the franchise’s roster when he replaced Brad Treliving. Conroy has managed to land significant draft capital and young talent for the Flames as they attempt to rebuild.

It was very important for Calgary to land a first-round pick in any trade involving a player of the caliber of Hanifin. That’ll likely mean the Flames will possess a pair of first-round picks in both the 2024 and 2025 drafts, assuming the Golden Knights’ pick isn’t moved this year. It’s also a positive that the Flames get a conditional third-round pick in 2024.

Calgary landed Miromanov in the deal, who is viewed as the centerpiece of the trade. Miromanov is a 26-year-old Russian defenseman that was signed as undrafted free agent back in 2021. 

Miromanov doesn’t have a ton of NHL experience to this point as he’s registered just seven points in 29 career NHL games. However, he has had the last few seasons to get adjusted to the American game. Miromanov has played for the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights in each of the last three seasons, started his career with a 40-point season (11 goals, 29 assists) in 53 AHL games in 2021-22. In total, Miromanov has tallied 72 points in 84 career AHL games, so he’s been a productive offensive player on the blue line up to this point.

The fact that Miromanov is already 26 years old could be a tad concerning, but it’s worth noting some players take longer to develop. In addition, the Golden Knights have had a deep stable of defensemen in recent years, which could be why Miromanov couldn’t break through. Now, he’ll have that opportunity in Calgary, where he’s already signed a two-year contract extension.

Conroy did well to land a first-round pick for another one of his assets, as well as a potential asset for his blue line. It wasn’t a franchise-altering return, but the Flames got solid value back for Hanifin given the circumstances. Grade — B

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