Flames trade Noah Hanifin to Vegas Golden Knights

The 27-year-old Hanifin was considered the top defenceman on the market in the lead-up to Friday’s NHL trade deadline

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Noah Hanifin is headed to Sin City.

The Calgary Flames swung a deal Wednesday to send Hanifin to the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a first-round draft choice in either 2025 or 2026, a conditional third-round pick in 2025 and 26-year-old defenceman Daniil Miromanov.

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The first-rounder will be in 2025 unless the Golden Knights include that piece in another trade prior to Friday’s deadline or tumble into the lottery and luck into a Top-10 selection, while the conditional third-rounder will be upgraded to a second if Hanifin helps his new crew to win a playoff round this spring.

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The Flames will retain half of Hanifin’s salary for the remainder of the season, while a third-party broker — the Philadelphia Flyers — is involved to further reduce the cap charge for Vegas

Shortly after Wednesday’s swap was finalized, Miromanov’s agent revealed that he has already inked a two-year extension in Calgary, with an average annual value of US$1.25 million.

“It was extremely important to us to ensure this deal featured a first-round draft pick and a third-round pick that has the potential to become a second-round selection,” said Flames general manager Craig Conroy of Wednesday’s move. “Additionally, we have been tracking Daniil the past couple of seasons and we are pleased to have been able to ensure he was a part of this trade. He has good size at 6-foot-4 with good skating ability and speed. He commands a heavy shot, makes quick plays and we are excited about his offensive upside. At the AHL level, he has been dominant in creating offence as a defenceman and we anticipate that to translate to the NHL.”

The smooth-skating Hanifin was considered the top defenceman on the market in the lead-up to Friday’s deadline. The 27-year-old will now be playing for a Pacific Division rival, and alongside his close pal Jack Eichel.

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The Golden Knights, who are currently sitting in the first wildcard slot in the Western Conference, visit the Saddledome next Thursday.

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Hanifin spent the past six seasons in Calgary, totalling 42 goals, 149 assists and a plus-46 rating in 420 games. Conroy made a major effort to lock him up long-term, reportedly offering an eight-year contract extension with a total value of roughly US$60 million, but the soon-to-be free agent wasn’t willing to put pen to paper.

He was leading the team in total icetime this season and had already contributed a career-high 11 goals, so his departure leaves another significant void as the Flames scrap to stay relevant in the wildcard race.

Conroy has been busy over the last several months, starting a retool of his roster. He has certainly kept his word that he won’t risk losing any pending UFAs for nothing in return.

Dating back to last May, when he was promoted to general manager, Conroy has shipped out Tyler Toffoli, Nikita Zadorov, Elias Lindholm, Chris Tanev and now Hanifin. All were on expiring pacts, and all fetched younger players or future assets.

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Miromanov will join the Flames on their current road-trip. The Russian rearguard has appeared in 29 career games in the NHL, all on behalf of the Golden Knights. He has so far notched only two goals and seven points at the highest level, although he has been productive in the minors and one of his former coaches told Postmedia that he has “above-average offensive skills for an NHL defenceman.”

A big dude at 6-foot-4 and 210 lb., Miromanov missed the first half of this season while recovering from knee surgery.

“Because he’s out west, we got to see him a lot before, and we really liked him,” Conroy told Flames TV. “Unfortunately, he’s had a couple of injuries and was set back a little bit. But you watch the progress and we’re thinking, ‘OK, he’s going to take a little while to get back up to speed,’ but we really think there’s a really, really good player there for us.”

For Miromanov, whose current contract carries a cap-hit of US$762,500, there will be at least a couple of familiar faces in Calgary’s locker-room. He played with Brayden Pachal in the Golden Knights organization and was teammates with Jakob Pelletier in the QMJHL.

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