What Noah Hanifin’s contract extension means for a potential Filip Hronek deal in Vancouver

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
14 days ago
News broke on Thursday that Noah Hanifin and the Vegas Golden Knights have agreed to terms on an eight-year, $58.8M contract extension that will pay him $7.35M annually. 
The Calgary Flames traded Hanifin to their Pacific division rival, the Vegas Golden Knights. This trade involved a 2025 first-round pick, a conditional third-round pick and defenceman Danill Miromanov to Calgary.
It was heavily rumoured that the Hanifin only had interest in signing an extension in Florida, either with the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay Lightning. But two days before the trade deadline, Vegas swooped in and got their guy. 
In 16 games since joining the Golden Knights, Hanifin has two goals, nine points, a +3 rating, and has assumed the top spot on the team’s powerplay. With Vegas still having six unrestricted free agents and one restricted free agent to sign, they prioritized Hanifin to get him locked up first. 
Hanifin signed a six-year contract for $29.7M that paid him $4.95M annually back in 2018. With this play, he undoubtedly deserved a raise. 
This contract extension affects the Vancouver Canucks and what the next contract may look like for Filip Hronek, as he also deserves a raise with his play this season. 
So, let’s compare the two.

Comparing Hanifin and Hronek

Here are the stats and analytical comparables from this season.
These two players are having strikingly similar seasons. 
Hronek narrowly edges Hanifin by four points, five 5-on-5 points, but blows him out of the water with a +14 rating. 
Analytically, he has better percentages in expected goals for (xGF%) and scoring chances for (SCF%). These analytics mean the Canucks are creating more expected goals and scoring chances offensively than allowing defensively with Hronek on the ice. 
Hanifin has Hronek beat when it comes to goals, leading by eight and penalty kill time on ice by 26 seconds per game. 
With such similar numbers and analytics, to see Hanifin come in at this $7.35M annually, I can’t help but believe Hronek’s extension will heavily mirror this number. 
However, there are a few factors to consider:
Unfortunately, this is the reality, but Nevada is a non-income-tax state, meaning players will typically take a little less than they would necessarily make on the open market. Hockey fans have seen this in Florida and Tampa Bay for years. With the rising salary cap, Hanifin could have asked for around $8M annually, but to sign in a high-tax state, he could make less. 
The same benefit doesn’t apply to players signing in Vancouver.
Another factor is that Hronek is a right-shot defenceman. Typically, a player’s average annual value (AAV) gets a slight bump up for those who play the right side. Hanifin is a left-shot defenceman.
With all this in mind, let’s relook at these numbers in Hronek and his agent’s eyes.
A defenceman who is just one year older signed for eight years, $7.35M annually; at the same time, I’m looking for an extension. In the same season, I average more ice time, have more points, a higher plus/minus rating, and better analytics — all while playing the more desired side on a better hockey team.
It’s hard not to imagine that Hronek would command more money on the open market.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has doubled down on his reporting that Filip Hronek’s next contract starts with an eight. 
Frank also makes a valid point. With his play, his arbitration case would land him somewhere between $7.5M and $8M annually and lead to unrestricted free agency. 
We’ll see how this all plays out, but after considering all these facts, Canucks fans should prepare for a Filip Hronek extension to land him above today’s Noah Hanifin’s $7.35M extension.
The positive to consider is that Hronek won’t be lost for nothing, as this is his final year as a restricted free agent. And if Canucks management finds his price is too expensive, they can facilitate a trade and ensure they don’t lose him for nothing. 
With the salary cap rising this season and projected to increase substantially in the coming years, the value of a $7.5M-$8M contract today will not hold the same worth in a few years. 
While his defensive partner, Quinn Hughes, is having a Norris trophy-type season, they’ve shown chemistry and the ability to play at a high level together. Do you really want to try to find another defenseman for Hughes to play with and hope they have a similar production?
What do you think Canucks fans? How do you think this Noah Hanifin extension affects Filip Hronek’s extension and his potential future in Vancouver?

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