Flames defenseman Chris Tanev
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Insider shares interesting update on the Leafs/Flames talks regarding Hanifin and Tanev

Published February 19, 2024 at 11:11
BY MIKE ARMENTI

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a little over two and a half weeks with which to work to get a deal done to shore up their blueline. The Leafs have fought it all year long on the blueline, dealing with countless injuries, illnesses and a lot of up-and-down play even before Morgan Rielly's 5-game suspension was handed down. They certainly could have benefitted from having another minute-munching defenseman on the roster, like a Noah Hanifin or a Chris Tanev - two of the players whom they've been linked to most frequently this season.

On the latest edition of 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman had plenty to say about the availability of Tanev and Hanifin and the Leafs' perceived interest in both. Friedman and his co-host Jeff Marek started with what is going on with Tanev.

"When it comes to Tanev, I think the Flames are waiting until a 1st round pick gets offered. I think that's what they're waiting for and if a team steps up with a 1st rounder, I could see it happening - and I think there's a pretty big group there. It's Toronto, which I think is offering multiple picks, but none of them a 1st, and their first 2nd rounder available isn't for 4 years, so that's a challenge."

We know that the Leafs have made an offer for Tanev, but we know that their 2024 1st round pick has not been included in that offer, otherwise a deal would be done. Friedman also identified Dallas, Colorado, Edmonton and Vancouver as the other 4 teams currently in the Tanev sweepstakes. Naturally, none of them has offered a 1st round pick either, per Friedman.


After the Tanev chatter, Friedman and Marek turned their attention to Hanifin, with Friedman re-affirming what he had said previously, that Hanifin isn't interested in extending with a Canadian team at this point. Friedman believes that the U.S. based teams have the upper hand here, because they can offer a better package, so long as an extension is a part of the plan.

"I think a team like Toronto would love to get Hanifin, but I don't believe, and I said this last summer, that I think Hanifin's position was to go to the States if he hit the market, and the U.S. based teams certainly think that. Like, they think that if he goes to the market, they're going to have the better chance to get him than Toronto or anyone else."

It's worth noting that Friedman did not rule the Leafs out on Hanifin, even though the prevailing thought right now is that he'd prefer to sign with a U.S. based team. Perhaps you'll recall the Jake McCabe conundrum at last year's deadline, when McCabe waived his NTC for a deal to Toronto, even though the Leafs were believed to be one of the 7 teams on his NTC. Toronto might be the one exception here - especially when you consider that Hanifin and Auston Matthews are very familiar with one another from their time together in the US National Team Development Program in 2013-14.

Hanifin aside, if the Leafs can snag Tanev slightly below what the perceived market value was and then turn around and go after someone like Kings defenseman Matt Roy, those would be two pretty significant upgrades on the right side in Toronto. Of course, there will be plenty of teams bidding on both players, but with the Leafs clearly in win-now mode, they're likely going to have to get involved in those bidding wars to avoid losing out on their targets and entering the playoffs with a sub-optimal group on the back end.

POLL
February 19   |   730 answers
Insider shares interesting update on the Leafs/Flames talks regarding Hanifin and Tanev

Will the Leafs end up with at least one of Tanev or Hanifin before the March 8th deadline?

Yes29941 %
No32344.2 %
They'll end up with someone even better10814.8 %
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