Friedman Reports: Maple Leafs Pursued Noah Hanifin

With just over two weeks until the trade deadline, Elliotte Friedman’s 32 Thoughts column is a must read for anyone looking for clues or spoilers of what is going to unfold before or at the trade deadline. This week’s installment includes a few Leafs related items, including a significant one involving Noah Hanifin.

From Friedman:

Toronto made a pitch, and would want to know the possibility of signing him, but Hanifin appears headed for the US on a long-term basis. Teams want to know where he’s willing to sign.

While it seems that Hanifin would be perfectly fine with a stop in Toronto on his way to his 2024-25 team, the Maple Leafs and Brad Treliving don’t seem willing to pay a steep price for a pure rental. That is a reasonable decision to make and now with TJ Brodie looking comfortable on the left side of the ice, Toronto’s immediate need seems to entirely be finding a right side defender.

Friedman seems to be heavily leaning towards Tampa as the landing spot for Hanifin and no doubt if they can make that work, he’ll be a huge upgrade to their team. The challenge there is that the Lightning are even more depleted on the picks and prospects front and Hanifin isn’t going to be cheap.

With Chris Tanev, the Flames continue to hold and see if a first-rounder (or something they consider comparable) becomes available. Dallas is very much into this, although some teams suspect they like Hanifin, too. Others: Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver. Colorado’s been in and out, as have others.

Dallas looks to be the front runner for Tanev and they have the resources to meet Calgary’s demands. That’s not to say that the Leafs are out on Tanev, but it is now a bidding war. Whether a bidding war is something the Leafs should be a part of remains to be seen as there hasn’t been a defenceman moved at the deadline yet to establish what the market looks like.

A couple of other interesting notables:

If the Department of Player Safety is trying to establish one thing in 2023-24, it’s that retaliation matters. David Perron (one previous fine) and Morgan Rielly (no history) were punished harder than normal for cross-checks that were considered revenge and non-hockey plays.

Leafs always get to help the NHL set the precedent. Lucky Toronto.

…before the 2020 draft, one WHL staffer said he begged someone he knew on the Maple Leafs to take Ridly Greig. He told them Greig would be Nazem Kadri-lite, in all the good ways.

It goes without saying that Greig is the type of player you love when he’s on your team, but the Leafs have been doing okay at interjecting some of that personality already. It’s unfair to play “woulda, shoulda, coulda” with the 2020 as the Leafs selected Rodion Amirov and cancer robbed him of the opportunity to show what he could have done. I don’t think anyone is trying to do that here but it’s important to remember there is another reason beyond just trading picks away at the trade deadline that the Leafs don’t have that much high end talent in their prospect pool.

It would be a downer to end this post there, so here’s an upbeat fact about Bobby McMann to brighten your day:

Bobby McMann’s Feb. 13 hat trick against St. Louis, Twitter follower Rob Adler asked how many players with 20-plus games in the ECHL have an NHL hat trick? Thanks to that league’s statistical genius, Joe Babik, we know McMann is the 15th to do it.

Other Leafs organization alumni on that list include: Bates Battaglia, Adam Cracknell, Mason Marchment, and Carter Verhaeghe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *