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Sabres Shifting Interest To Hanifin?



The NHL trade market kicked into gear on Saturday with the NHL Draft in Nashville fast approaching, something that may come to involve the Buffalo Sabres and their quest for a top-four defenseman.

The Nashville Predators continued to head down the rebuilding path after dealing Mattias Ekholm to Edmonton, Mikael Granlund to Pittsburgh, and young forward Tanner Jeannot to Tampa Bay at the deadline for a boatload of draft picks, sending center Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche for the expiring contract of forward Alex Galchenyuk. The Predators will retain 50% of Johansen’s $8 million salary for the remaining two years of his contract, which was preferable to buying out the 30-year-old and having the cap hit spread out over four years.

The other deal saw the Los Angeles Kings sending 24-year-old defenseman Sean Durzi to the Arizona Coyotes for a 2024 second-round pick. Durzi scored 38 points last season and is under contract for another year at $1.7 million, but his price tag was likely to go up precipitously next summer as an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent.

Hanifin Looking For Road Out Of Calgary

The common theme for many NHL clubs over the next couple of weeks is making moves on players with a short-term remaining on current deals, either because they cannot afford to re-sign these players or they’ve been told they will not stay with their current club. One such instance involves Calgary defenseman Noah Hanifin, who informed Flames management that he would not sign a contract extension past next season and that he would prefer to be dealt to a US-based club.

According to The Athletic, the Sabres and Florida Panthers are the primary suitors for the 26-year-old blueliner. Hanifin makes $4.95 million in the final year of a six-year deal and fills the need of a defense partner for youngster Owen Power that Sabres GM Kevyn Adams is looking for. The cost is thought to be similar to that rumored for Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce and that would give Buffalo the advantage over the nearly barren Panthers, who exhausted all of their prospect pool and draft capital in deals over the last two years.

Adams may be shifting his interest away from Pesce, as the blueliner’s representatives and Hurricanes have been making progress on a new deal. The door is not closed to the possibility of Pesce being moved if negotiations break down.