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Report: Panthers among teams pushing for Hanifin

Terence Leung / National Hockey League / Getty

The Florida Panthers are making a push for Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin, sources told ESPN's Kevin Weekes.

The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning - fellow Atlantic Division foes - are also reportedly interested in the pending unrestricted free-agent blue-liner.

Hanifin has 11 goals and 23 assists in 59 games with the Flames this season while averaging 23:44 per contest. The 6-foot-3, 207-pounder combines ideal size with a smooth skating stride. His underlying numbers over the last three campaigns are stellar.


In Florida, Hanifin could round out a top-four defense core already featuring Aaron Ekblad, Gustav Forsling, and Brandon Montour, pushing Niko Mikkola down to a more fitting role on the third pair.

The Panthers would have the long-term cap space to keep the 27-year-old Hanifin beyond 2023-24. Forsling, Montour, and leading goal-scorer Sam Reinhart are all pending UFAs. Ekblad comes off the books in 2025.

But a lack of trade assets could be an issue for the Panthers. They don't have a first-round pick until 2026 or own their second-rounder this year. Florida's farm system isn't considered overly strong, either.

The Panthers and Flames are no strangers to blockbuster trades, having completed the Matthew Tkachuk swap in 2022. Current Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving was running the Flames then, but Calgary's replacement, Craig Conroy, was part of the front office as an assistant GM.

The Flames have already shipped off pending UFAs Elias Lindholm, Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov. However, Hanifin could yield their biggest return, especially if they find a suitor that inks him to an extension as part of a trade.

The Carolina Hurricanes drafted Hanifin fifth overall in 2015 before trading him to the Flames in 2018.

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