Photo Credit: Jamie Kellner

WWYDW: Noah Hanifin?

Just last week, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman caught Vancouver off guard, suggesting the Canucks could be a stealth team in the hunt for Noah Hanifin in one of his always illuminating 31 Thoughts columns.

In his exact words, “5. Stealth team for Noah Hanifin: Vancouver”. It’s not much, but it’s proven more than enough to set the market on fire with speculation about the possibility of the former fifth overall pick joining the Canucks.

Earlier today, CanucksArmy’s own Harman Dayal did an excellent job of laying out the conditions for a Hanifin acquisition by the home team and all the circumstances therein. It’s a great read, and it could help to inform where you land on this debate.

So with that, I’m asking you: what would you do about the Noah Hanifin speculation? Would you make a trade for the 21-year-old defenceman, and if so, what would it look like?

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Last week I askedWhat would you do, if given the opportunity to pick a lesson from the success of the Golden Knights inaugural season?


Personally I think that the message is, players buying in wholeheartedly to a coach with a good system, is far far more important than any other current factor, in creating a winner.

Killer Marmot:

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It’s great to have stars like McDavid, but depth might be more important. The ability to play 60 minutes of quality hockey without giving your opponent a break from the pressure can be awfully successful.


There are two things to take away from Vegas:

1. There are lots of talented players in the NHL who, for one reason or another, haven’t been put in a position to succeed and are thus undervalued. Vegas has a good collection of both old school and new school minds in their front office who were able to effectively identify these players and give them opportunities to shine. The Canucks have attempted to do this since Benning took over, too, but haven’t been nearly as effective at identifying these players. They need a boost to their pro scouting department.

2. You can accomplish anything when you have a starting goalie who posts a .950 save %, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals with a motley crew of castoffs.


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First observation: Do the VGKs have a #1 Dman? I do not see one. Just looks like good 6 Dmen that fit into the system. Maybe one should stop obsessing over needing a Karlsson or Doughty. Maybe having 6 2nd paring Dmen (and I cringe when I put Sbisa in that category) is better than having one superstar and then suckage. Not saying having a Karlsson or Doughty is not important. But for $12M, which is what they will command in 2019?

Second observation: Does this team have a 3rd and 4th line? They seem to have 3 2nd lines and a 1st line (courtesy of Florida and Columbus). Speed and skill are prioritized. Tip of the hat to mgmt’s expansion draft team.

Third observation: Having a superstar goalie that is a proven SC winner helps. Always.

Fourth observation: Gallant works with the roster he has, not the one he wished he had. He adapted. He gave opportunity.

Final observation: Cap Hell. Lots of players seem to be overperforming, and VGK may start to overpay. Expansion drafts allowed VGKs to pick contracts, but now contracts will pick them. Let’s see where they are in a few years. Huge challenge to mgmt to not make mistakes that EVERY GM has made. Looking at you, William Karlsson!!


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The first lesson I’d take is to stick to your own guns and not try and remake yourself in someone else’s image. It would be as problematic to emphasize only speed and skill or building out from the goaltender or D as if we took up the “Boston” or “LA” heavy model. As someone else said, what the Las Vegas model shows more than anything else is that there are a lot of NHL players who don’t get a decent shot on their own teams and a real shot to succeed on an expansion team. Brian Bradley scored 86 and 79 points with an expansion TBL team; Scott Walker became a mainstay with NASH. It’s just that the Las Vegas team had the deck stacked for them and got way more of a shot at underutilized players than any other team has had before. It thus makes any real lessons from them not possible for an existing franchise.


  • RyanTheConsumer

    Depends on the price, but I would pretty much move any piece outside of Pettersson/Boeser/Horvat/7th for Hanifin, and the 7th is negotiable.
    If the 7th is involved, it depends on who is still on the board at 7. If by some miracle any of Wahlstrom, Hughes or Zadina fall out of the top 6, I would no longer be willing to move the 7th overall. Once those guys are off the board, I am open to the idea.
    After watching Vegas, the idea of Hanifin and Juolevi running the Canuck’s transition game from separate pairings is appealing. At the same time, I think concerns over Hanifin’s offensive upside and defensive deficiencies are legitimate, so the price has to be right.

  • argoleas

    Canes are trading from a position of strength: They have an excess of Dmen, and Hanifin is expendable. Any trade Canucks do should be from the same position, and trading picks and prospects, especially for a rebuilding team, is IMO dumb. Not a knock on Hanifin. I’ll let the experts decide his worth. I want our prospects to be developed, and when we do that, and not before, and have a surplus somewhere, then do such trades. In other words, wait until you can do one of these Sergachev-Drouin or Jones-Johansen deals.

    • Ragnarok Ouroboros

      If Carolina has an excess of Dmen, then that is not a position of strength. They are effectively forced to trade a defenseman to break the logjam.

      • ADS

        Actually that is a position of strength, as in they have a lot of depth on the blueline and can afford to trade a quality Dman to acquire pieces to strengthen other parts of their line-up.

  • Steampuck

    I’d be pretty okay with a top four of Juolevi, Hanifin, Dobson, and Stecher. That’s even letting Edler and Tanev ease their way down the depth chart as they age. It may not be the meanest blue line, but it’s reasonably big and mobile.

    So long as you’re not trading Horvat, Boeser, Pettersson, Demko, I think you’re bringing in a “core” player and addressing some pretty major deficiencies. Even Benning is on the record, acknowledging that a winning group depends on not more than six or seven key guys. Right now, none of those key Canucks are D-men. By all means, try and hold onto 7, but there’s a very good chance that whoever goes at 7 never reaches Hanifin’s current ability. We can lust after potential and high ceilings, but I still tend to err on the side of caution and go with the known entity.

    • apr

      Baertschi for Rasmus Anders0n; Vey for Roland McKeown; Gudbrandson for Rasmus Asplund (and McCann). Just some examples of Nucks getting more NHL ready players for 2nd round draft picks. I really don’t see Hanafin enough; I do know is I would have lost my mind if the Nucks traded the 5th pick for Derek Stepan last year, as Yotes did it for the 6th pick (and could have had Middlestadt, Villardi, Toivenen, etc..). It may be a “safer” move to trade out of the 7th for Hanafin; but I just don’t think its worth the risk……

      • Steampuck

        I think the difference here is that Hanifin is already a near-elite D. He’s been to an All-Star game and the data above suggests he’s already much more than a run-of-the-mill defenseman. He could fit in very nicely with the talented forwards we are already priming. The D corps stands to be three or four years behind, even if we draft the best of this year’s crop.

        • TD

          Hanifin transitions the puck at an elite level, but is not an elite d man at this point an may never be one. He was a third pairing d man that put up 32 points. I would love to have one of those, but I question how a third pairing d man made the allstar game. Hannifin struggles in his own end, which is not something a top 4 d man can do.

      • How much better would the Canucks’ prospect pool look right now with Rasmus Anderson, Roland McKeown, Rasmus Asplund, and Jared McCann?


        This is different from that though. As Steampuck notes, Hanafin is a legit top-four puck moving defenceman.

        • Puck Viking

          Not to mention had we dealt tanev and we continue to hold on to guys like sven and sutter when they should be dealt for picks then we could find replacements via free agency.

        • TheRealPB

          Goon, of those players the only one I’d really regret is Rasmus Anderson, who looks like a stud d (even if Calgary hasn’t given him nearly enough of a shake). The others — not so much. Asplund I just saw rated as one of the most disappointing prospects of the past year by THN, McCann is still sorting out his career (likely in the bottom six for FLA), and McKeown has already been traded a second time by LA in their ill-fated move for Sekeraj in 2015. I just don’t understand the inability to let go draft picks from the past. None of these are superstars or even at the top of their respective prospect pools. Instead, 2nd round picks are in particular the price for most moves in the NHL these days. And they are a (less likely to pay out) lottery ticket at the end of the day. I think 3 years of decent production from Sven Baertschi already is a fair exchange for Anderson.

    • Cageyvet

      OK, but then how does Dobson make it into your lineup? I don’t see the deal not including the 7th, so at that point it’s all about how they view the prospects at that level. I haven’t seen enough of Hanifin to know how I would feel about this, but it’s a defensible trade. I also agree with people who have commented you have to protect him in the next expansion draft, while the pick would yield an exempt player. I’d hate to see another decent prospect lost as fallout down the road.

  • The Canucks could use Hanafin, but it’s not worth overpaying for him. The Canes have lacked a starting goalie for a decade. They’ve had several years where they’ve been a strong team and missed the playoffs due to Cam Ward and his .905 save percentage.

    I’d offer Demko for Hanafin straight up, and then go fishing in the Leafs’ AHL team to pick up Garrett Sparks or Calvin Pickard on the cheap.

    • truthseeker

      Nice thought but goalies never have that kind of value. Sure in terms of “talent” it might make sense but it totally ignores the value that positions are given inherently by NHL GM’s. And historically they’ve decided that goalies don’t have much and that D pretty much has the most.

  • No trade, too expensive. Instead, I’d take advantage of the fact that this draft is deep in defencemen and spend the first 3 rounds hunting for the best defencemen available (who are likely to be BPA too). For example, if we got Noah Dobson, Calen Addison and Filip Johansson, we’d have 3 defencemen with decent to high offensive upside. Dobson and Johansson are of decent height so it’s not like we’re drafting Smurfs either.

    • truthseeker

      Yeah that’s essentially where I’m at as well. I’d love to get Hanifin but paying for D in today’s NHL is just too expensive. You’ve got to build it yourself. Benning really needs to switch focus now and build the back end. No drafting BPA if, like at 7 this year, everyone after number 1 is a question mark. Take the D. It will have more trade value than any of the wingers at the top of the draft all things being equal.

  • Bud Poile

    This discussion is kind of strange as the Nucks team have four LHD now with Joulevi waiting to come on board.
    Green is fed up with Hutton but Olli takes his spot,anyways.
    If they think Hanafin will replace Edler and can unload two LHD it makes some sense but the Nucks need a RHD that is mobile and offensively gifted.
    If Noah Dobson is there at #7 the Nucks can draft a RHD that fills the hole.

    • rediiis

      Hanafin is a solid defenseman. His ceiling is limited. Just because Friedman wants a trade doesn’t mean the Canucks should jump. Do not sell the 7th, Pettersson, Boeser, Horvat, Lind, Gadnovich, Gaudette, Demko, Dipietro or Juolevi.

  • Puck Viking

    Maybe a 3 way deal with tanev being the part we toss in but not worth the 7th overall. Maybe tanev to the oil, canes get nug and we get hanifin type scenario where we could also send markstrom and take back darling.

    A future D core of Dobson, Joulevi and Hanifin would be nice. Then hopefully we could trade Sven and Sutter this off season too adding another 1 or 2 defense prospects.

    This area has to be addressed as quickly as possible.

        • argoleas

          I’m no longer persuaded that Tanev will be gone when his contract is up. Watch for extension talks next summer. I think everyone, including me, has talked themselves the idea that moving Tanev is basically a done deal, and/or Tanev wants to move. But between what Benning and even Tanev have been saying publicly, not so sure. Yeah, could be posturing, but….

    • canuckfan

      If we were making a trade that involved Tanev and Nuggent-Hopkins I would not want another team involved I would make that swap straight up.
      Perhaps a three way with Florida where they get Gudbranson – Canucks get Hanifin- and Carolina gets a Florida player.
      If Carolina is looking to move up I the standings they will want to trade Hanifin to Edm for Nug straight up and Edm would be better doing that as well.
      Canucks should not trade their pick unless they get someone elses pick and a second for our first. If Joulevi and Hanifin are the same types of players I think we go with Oli and pair him with Tanev, and then Edler with Gudbranson which worked well until Gudbranson got hurt. But if Tanev were traded for Nug I think that would be a sweet deal.

      • Puck Viking

        We need defense not a center… and we dont just need one more we need 4 more with top 4 potential.

        Plus the oil need a RHD not another LHD. Nurse and Klefbom are both better than Hanifin currently is.

  • TD

    I would like to add Hanifin, but not at a premium. I would not trade Horvat, Boeser, Pettersson, Juolevi or the 7th pick. I would only do Demko straight up which likely won’t happen. Baertschi, Granlund, Goldobin, Hutton, Pouliot, Gudbranson, Sutter, Tanev, Edler (if he waived), plus maybe one of the winger prospects should all be fair game as long as it’s not a massive overpay. Harman Dayal’s article touting his elite transition skills, but weak pp and defensive skills were sobering as to whether Hanifin could be a good top 4 d man.

  • truthseeker

    Any trade I would propose for Hanifin would not be accepted by Carolina because they will get a better return elsewhere.

    This is really one of those near 50/50 situations in my opinion. A D at his age and ability would be a great fit for the canucks at the moment. That was a good article and raised some valid concerns about his game, but it was still very speculative. Maybe he would take the ball and run with an increased work load. You can’t say for certain he would fail just because other guys who you think are “similar” did. This is where to me the analytics guys have a blind spot. There is just way too much human psychology involved, which to me make using arguments like that virtually meaningless. They aren’t based on anything measurable even though they have the appearance of it.

    Having said that, it doesn’t mean I’d be willing to trade lock stock and lot for the guy. This is a situation where the guys from our team Carolina would want, Horvat, Brock, or Pettersson, I wouldn’t be willing to give up even though those guys would be proper value given recent historical trade precedent for D.

    The 7th pick will in no way be enough. As I mentioned in another article it would take the 7th, Demko and Jake/Goldy type offer to get it done. And here is where it’s about 50/50 for me. But come “decision” time I’d pass on it.

    • crofton

      Their 7th, Demko and “a Jake/Goldy type offer” would be a massive overpay at this point as Goldobin and Virtanen may both be just figuring it all out now. And Demko? Maybe one of the most desirable non-NHL goalies out there, if not the most.

      • truthseeker

        Goalies have historically low trade value. Very low. I like Goldy and Jake too but that’s all they are doing at this point…figuring it out. GM’s don’t put a lot of value on “figuring it out”. It’s the 7th that’s the major piece even with those other parts.

        It’s not a massive over pay at all. It’s right in line with trade precedent. Again…Seth Jones, a player roughly at Hanifin’s level at the time of the trade, a good young D man with some defensive issues who may or may not develop into a top D man, cost the Jackets their 30 goal scoring 60 to 70 point number one proven center. The package I just mentioned contains not one single proven entity. You think the Cane’s are giving up a D man like Seth Jones (OK…with a bit less offensive upside…granted) for a bunch of unproven everything? Come on. Be realistic. I like our prospects too but that’s all they are. Their value isn’t that high.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      So, the 7th pick “will in no way be enough”, yet “Tanev is far more valuable than Hanafin”??? Cool, then lets trade Tanev to Buffalo for the first overall, shall we? Jeez…..

      • truthseeker

        for f..k sakes the stupidity level is off the charts on this one. Is this what qualifies as a rational argument in your mind?

        First off…Tanev is 28 years old and under a cheap contract for another 2 seasons, is one of if not the absolute best shot suppressing D men in the NHL (a rate 3 times higher than Hanifin) and would be the best shut down D man on any team in the league and a virtual top pairing guy on all but a couple of teams. So yeah….he’s way f..king better than Hanifin.

        Does that mean that Hanifin doesn’t have decent value? No. Does that mean I think Tanev is worth a lottery shot at a generational talent? Where did I ever imply that? Nice f..king strawman.

        Have another beer. You must be drunk to make such a stupid point like that.

  • Nuck16

    Regarding Hanifen…I really hope over the next 2 season in the lead up to the Seattle expansion draft, our management does NOT make any trades for players that will need to be protected if going the other way are assets that will not to be protected (ie. picks and prospects). We should be doing the opposite. You can say all you want about how we don’t have that many players that are worthy of being protected but that can change…plus the year after next, vacant protection spots will be very valuable as teams try to unload their unprotected players at a discount.

    • truthseeker

      I think you’re looking at the Vegas thing and being way too paranoid. Passing on a good deal just because of “mights” and “coulds” of an expansion draft that nobody knows the rules for yet, would be incredibly short sighted.

  • jaybird43

    Assuming the all star thing wasn’t a fluke, and he’s a legit #2 defenceman, then it’s ok to give up the 7th pick, with any forward not named Boesser, Pettersson, Horvat (maybe Lind too). Canucks also get Carolina 2nd round pick. One team gas too many defencemen, one too many forwards … make it work.

  • Silverback

    The potential for some of the D available in the draft may exceed Hanifin’s ceiling. I say don’t make the trade, keep our picks and our prospects. Hughes, Dobson, Boquist, or Bouchard will be wearing a Canucks Jersey next year at training camp, and I am fine with that.

  • Holly Wood

    If Carolina is in fact willing to trade a 21 year old defencemen that was a high first round pick that should send up a red flag right there. No way in hell would I trade this years pick for Hanifin. Others may be on the table but not the pick.

  • I am Ted

    I was pleasantly surprised to read a well done Hanifin piece here on CA (obviously not this one). Craig Button and Ray Ferraro also not overly impressed with Hanifin. After reviewing all this info, I wouldn’t give up a lot for this guy. Maybe the 2nd pick and Baertschi which likely won’t get it done but this guy’s value seems very inflated right now and I don’t think he’s worth it.

    • speering major

      If Hanifin can fetch the 7th plus then Tanev should have already been moved or be moved this summer for a nice return. IMO Bennings goal should be to draft 2 D in this years top 20 picks or Whalstrom + a D.

      If other teams want to over pay for quality D then sell them one. Then draft 2.

      • Cageyvet

        Given the time frame we are facing to be truly competitive, this is the best comment I’ve seen. The only qualifier on moving Tanev is the core of your argument – find someone to overpay. Trade one, draft two, I like that a lot more than the likely price tag for Hanifin. Grab him as well if you somehow fleece Carolina……what, you want Gudbranson and Sutter? OK….and I’m not a rabid hater of either, but some deals you can’t turn down. I suspect Obi-Wan would need to be involved (this is not the trade you are looking for) to make it happen, one can dream. Juolevi, Hanifan and this year’s pick would be a great situation.

  • TheRealPB

    Hanifin is a decent young D with a high draft pedigree. We already took a chance on one of those (Gudbranson) and that hasn’t panned out. The overpayment on the basis of promise and draft position — Reinhart for what ended up being Barzal and Beaulivier, Larsson for Hall, Gudbranson for McCann and the picks — none of them are worth it. Really the only good trade was Seth Jones and that was two teams swapping excellent young players who’d already established themselves for positional needs — one of the best hockey trades that was equal in recent memory. I can see liking Hanifin but not interested in taking a gamble at the cost of that ticket. Our D has been atrocious the past few years but it is as much a result of injuries and lack of depth as anything. Edler and Tanev would easily be in the top 3 in a lot of teams, while Stecher and Pouliot have been decent young players. Gudbranson is…what he is (overpaid and ok in a 3rd pairing), I think Hutton gets a lot of unnecessary hate, and Del Zotto and Biega are glorified AHL players. How often in the last 2-3 years are we actually icing that lineup of D? Edler’s missed 12-20 games, Tanev 12-30, Stetcher at least 12, and Gudbranson’s barely played half a season while he’s been here. If we add Juolevi to the mix and a couple of the other promising Utica players continue to develop and we draft a couple of D prospects in 2018, all of that seems a much steadier road on the rebuild than raiding our (only recently refilling) prospect cupboard and a high pick for a decent but not overwhelming young player in Hanifin.

    • TheRealPB

      That is a mind-numbingly terrible trade for everyone. It literally solves no-ones problems. The Islanders need Demko more than they need help on D, the Canes give up two good young players for mostly futures and the Canucks give up the 7th, their 1LW, one of their top 2 prospects, their top D, and a high draft pick for two decent but not overwhelming players. This is a bad idea for all concerned.

    • Cageyvet

      Sorry, the Canucks give up the 7th, Tanev, Demko, Baertschi and Hutton for Hanifan and Lindholm? Pierre Dorion, is that you? Peter Chiarelli maybe? I’d lead the angry mob if Benning made this trade.

  • EBS

    Offer Juolevi, Hutton and Goldobin and get a second pick back with Hanifin. Hanifin is probably a safer bet than Juolevi, we get another pick, Hutton seems to be done here, Goldobin is expendable, lots of wingers coming

  • EBS

    Canucks should focus on picking up other teams problems in return for draft picks or prospects. Dallas; take Spezza $7.5m for one more year and their 2nd pick – we could give them Nilsson and throw in the rights to Tryamkin