#3 Noah Hanifin – Calgary Flames
Noah Hanifin has a similar skill set to Mike Matheson. He’s a well-rounded defenseman who can quarterback a powerplay.
He can move the puck, he can kill penalties and he logs a lot of icetime.
The biggest difference is that he’s three years younger than Matheson and could potentially be one of the youngest UFA defensemen available this summer.
His combination of skill and youth makes him very valuable in regards to both trade and salary. He may not have reached his full potential yet.
With a cap hit of $4.95 million, Noah Hanifin is the most expensive player on this list, but his current salary could easily be managed by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
If the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to give up the assets necessary to bring in Hanifin, however, they’ll most likely want to sign him long term and he was apparently close to an 8-year $7.5 million deal with Calgary.
Rumour is that Hanifin would be interested in a sign-and-trade deal which would lock him up long term, but that may be too much of a commitment for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs may also not have or be willing to part with the pieces required to meet Calgary’s asking price for Hanifin.
The pressure is on in Calgary to get Hanifin and other pending free agents signed or traded before the trade deadline after the situation they had with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk a couple seasons ago, and Brad Treliving may be licking his chops to add familiar faces from his former team.