By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins are looking for a high-end, top-four defenseman to plug behind Zdeno Chara on the left side.
That’s made the Hurricanes’ Noah Hanifin, a pending restricted free agent on a team reportedly dying to shake things up in their first year under new ownership and with a new general manager, everybody’s go-to option.
But Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell’s latest radio appearance may be enough to dash those hopes.
“Let me explain: One team called me and asked me if we’d ever consider trading [Hanifin],” Waddell began. “I said we hadn’t really thought about it, we have to get him signed and we’ll go from there. That one team then somehow came out to the media that we were trading Hanifin and my phone started ringing off the hook about trading Noah.”
It’s not hard to see why teams were calling on Hanifin, either.
The No. 5 overall pick from 2015, Hanifin established career-highs in goals (10) and points (32) in 79 games last season while averaging a career-high 18:52 of time on ice per contest. The 6-foot-3 Hanifin also ranked second among Carolina defenders with nine primary even-strength assists, and the 21-year-old tallied 25 total points at even-strength.
The Massachusetts-born defender was also on the Bruins’ radar during his draft year, and was the prized eyed as part of Boston’s failed trade-up on draft night, which left them with three consecutive picks in the middle of the first round. They wound up drafting Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk, and Zach Senyshyn with those back-to-back-to-back selections.
But Waddell says that Hanifin is very much still part of Carolina’s plans both in the now and for the future.
“Our goal is to get [Hanifin] signed to a long-term deal and it goes back to Tom’s [Dundon] philosophy as ownership that we have these assets and we want to tie them up for a long time. You got a young player who had his best season this last year who’s on the up-rise,” said Waddell. “These kind of assets… you have to be very careful with how you manage it. You’re not gonna ever trade a young player — whether it’s Hanifin or anybody else — for a 30 year old good player. We got something going we feel with our young players and we have to keep that moving in the right direction.”
Even so, it would not be a shock to see Bruins general manager Don Sweeney make his pitch to the Hurricanes given their need for such a talent and aforementioned previous infatuation with Hanifin’s promise.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.