The Carolina Hurricanes have their franchise defenseman locked up on an entry-level contract. At least that’s probably how they’re going to play off the PR on the decision to sign 2015 No. 5 pick Noah Hanifin on Saturday.
The Boston College blueliner just inked a three-year deal that will pay him $832,500 at the NHL level and $70,000 at the AHL level the team announced. Oh, and it includes a signing bonus of $277,500. Man, if you were 18 years old and had that sweet six-figures pumped into your bank account in one day … sorry, dreaming of spring break shenanigans in Cancun.
For Hanifin it’s bye-bye Boston College. Last season he had five goals and 18 assists in 37 games for the Eagles.
Said Canes GM Ron Francis via Hurricanes release.
“Noah has had a great week here during our prospect development camp,” said Francis. “He is big, he can skate and he can move the puck. Noah fits the mold for the type of player and person we want in a Hurricanes uniform.”
Behold video of the blessed event:
The 6-foot-3, 203-pound Hanifin has impressed Carolina so far, and it appears the Canes are pumped to get the blueliner in their system per the News & Observer:
The Canes would like to sign Hanifin, have him play in the Traverse City (Mich.) prospects tournament in September, then bring him to the NHL training camp. There’s always the chance he could play his way onto the Canes’ roster.
“He’s a big man who skates well and much like Haydn Fleury, his game is still evolving,” said Tony MacDonald, the Canes’ director of amateur scouting. “He has a chance to be a real horse at the NHL level for a long time and be an anchor on defense.”
Though much praise was heaped on the forwards taken 1-4 in the 2015 NHL Draft, Hanifin has the skill to be an elite defenseman. In a story we wrote in March, an amateur scout compared him to Rob Blake. Central scouting director Dan Marr said he was a “good mixture of a lot of hall of famers and a lot of future hall of famers.”
Hanifin is a smooth-skating defender with good size and acceleration who can generate some offense from the blueline but is also solid defensively. Although not a truly physical defenseman, he does not shy away form contact and will initiate it when necessary. Hanifin also has leadership qualities that could make NHL captain material down the road. Overall, he is an elite defender with few holes in his game.
Granted, dude’s only 18 years old, so let’s not get too crazy about his potential before we see him play against pros, which will seemingly happen next year. Nashville's Seth Jones and Florida's Aaron Ekblad have shown there’s room for 18-year-old defensemen to develop in the NHL.
“I’m very confident in my capabilities. What I got at BC this was great. I developed a ton and you never know, maybe going back to BC wouldn’t hurt me,” he said at the NHL Draft. “Maybe I could get a lot better to prepare myself even more for the NHL. That’s something I have to consider. Obviously I have see what team drafts me, talk to the team, see what their opinion is, but right now I’m just trying to enjoy this. You only go through this once in your life.”
Wouldn't it be fascinating if Hanifin won the Calder? Probably not going to happen, but still ...
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