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Trade grades: Of course Vegas won Hanifin sweepstakes

Leah Hennel / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Noah Hanifin saga is officially over.

The Calgary Flames sent the defenseman to the Vegas Golden Knights late Wednesday in a three-way trade looping in the Philadelphia Flyers.

Here are the high-level details:

VGK receives CGY receives PHI receives
D Noah Hanifin F Daniil Miromanov 5th-round pick (2024)
F Mikhail Vorobyov 1st-round pick (2025)
3rd-round pick (2025)

The Flyers joined the party solely to retain a chunk of Hanifin's salary. Teams must send an asset back in retention trades, hence Vorobyov's inclusion. He's a 27-year-old Russian center currently playing in the KHL.

With the Flames also retaining, Hanifin, a pending unrestricted free agent, arrives in Vegas with a cap hit of $1.24 million (down from $4.95 million).

Both draft picks heading to Calgary have conditions attached. If the 2025 first is traded again this week, or if the pick's in the top 10, the Flames instead receive the Golden Knights' 2026 first. And, if Vegas wins a playoff round this season, the 2025 third upgrades to a 2025 second.

Got it all? Let's assess Calgary's and Vegas' work here.

Golden Knights' side of the deal

Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images

One thing we've learned about the Golden Knights in their seven-year existence is that they're almost always pursuing the marquee name available.

Jack Eichel. Mark Stone. Alex Pietrangelo. Max Pacioretty. Robin Lehner.

And now Hanifin, the top defenseman on the trade market all season.

Vegas won the bidding war - like they always seem to do with trades and signings. As usual, general manager Kelly McCrimmon is using long-term injured reserve space to jam as much talent as possible onto the books. Make no mistake, the 33-22-7 Golden Knights aren't cheating. The NHL allows teams to operate this way. Vegas is simply exploiting the loophole better than others.

Hanifin, 27, is the type of player who doesn't wow with one or two elite skills. Instead, the Boston native gets above-average marks in virtually every category. He's a do-everything defenseman who'll inject quickness and puck-moving ability into a blue line that's mostly filled with defense-first guys.

Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images

Speaking of that defense corps, man, is it exceptionally deep. A new top pair of Hanifin and Pietrangelo. Alec Martinez (when he returns from injury) and Shea Theodore on the second pair. Some combination of Nicolas Hague, Brayden McNabb, and Zach Whitecloud on the third. Those are some massive dudes (four of seven guys, including Hanifin, are at least 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds), and they can work as a unit to grind teams down in the playoffs.

Vegas is trying to repeat as Stanley Cup champions and, on Wednesday, they didn't give up an NHLer to acquire a No. 2-caliber defenseman. I don't see a downside to this trade for them. And if Hanifin excels - and if he signs an extension between now and July 1 - this move will become a grand slam.

It's wild to think that, after picking up forward Anthony Mantha (for two picks) on Tuesday and Hanifin a day later, McCrimmon still has his first-rounder in 2024 to dangle in another trade ahead of Friday's 3 p.m. Eastern deadline.

Grade: A+

Flames' side of the deal

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

The Flames traded an impact defenseman having a career year offensively for a first-round pick, a minor-leaguer with NHL potential in Miromanov, and a third-rounder which, in all likelihood, will become a second come draft weekend.

That return is by no means terrible. But it feels ... slightly underwhelming.

Part of the reason it feels mediocre is because this isn't the first time Calgary GM Craig Conroy has opted for quantity over quality.

The recent Chris Tanev and Elias Lindholm return packages also lacked a player of significance. Sure, Miromanov has some promise, but his ceiling isn't super high. Same goes for Artem Grushnikov (Tanev trade). Hunter Brzustewicz (Lindholm trade) has the best chance of becoming a top-of-the-lineup player, but it's not as if he's one of the NHL's premier prospects.

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

How much of this can be chalked up to the Flames unloading former GM Brad Treliving's baggage at a bad time for sellers? How much of this is subpar negotiating by Conroy? How much of this is poor luck, with none of Lindholm, Tanev, and Hanifin signing an extension with their new club at the time of the trade, thus making them a pure rental?

Hard to say. It may be a perfect storm of all three issues.

Circling back on the Hanifin deal: the return would look markedly better if Miromanov was either a fully formed NHLer or a high-end prospect. A first, a third that may turn into a second, and a young player with serious upside? Oh yeah, that's a much better outcome. Miromanov, who signed a two-year extension with Calgary following the trade, may blossom into an everyday NHLer. He's right-handed, huge, and physical. But he's also already 26.

On a sunnier note, Conroy now has two first-round picks in 2024 and 2025.

Grade: B-

John Matisz is theScore's senior NHL writer. Follow John on Twitter (@MatiszJohn) or contact him via email (

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