Noah Hanifin very nearly became a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
When the Leafs had the chance to draft Hanifin and instead (correctly) selected Mitch Marner back in 2015, at least half the fanbase was upset they didn’t take the big defenseman.
When the Leafs passed on Hanafin, it allowed the Carolina Hurricanes to take him one slot after Marner. While the former Boston College Eagles defender didn’t live up to expectations, he has proven himself to be a solid NHL defenseman.
Hanafin is in the final season of his six-year $29.7M deal with the Calgary Flames. It carries a cap hit of $4.95M.
Just like Gostisbehere, Hanafin has established himself as someone who can help generate offense for his team. His most productive have been the last two. In 2021-22, Hanafin played 81 games where he scored 10 goals and recorded 38 assists for a total of 48 points. Those numbers took a small dip this past season when the 26-year-old, who played the same number of games, collected 38 points on seven goals and 31 assists.
Despite his possession metrics taking a hit this past season, Hanafin remains a reliable player in and out of his own zone. His two-way style of play is possible to due to his strong skating ability and skillful puck-handling.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be interested in Hanafin because of what he can bring. This includes playing an average of 22:39 minutes per game last season.