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Hanifin 'super close' to contract with Flames

Restricted free agent defenseman looking for at least five-year deal

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Noah Hanifin said Friday he expects to sign a contract with the Calgary Flames before players are scheduled to report for training camp Sept. 9.

 

[RELATED: Erik Karlsson trade talks picking up again]

 

The 21-year-old defenseman is Calgary's only remaining restricted free agent.

"It's super close," Hanifin said of his contract prior to playing in the Comm Ave Charity Classic at Boston University. "I want to be there and hopefully they want me to be there. My intentions are to be ready to go to camp soon. I'm excited and I can't wait for it all to be settled."

Calgary general manager Brad Treliving said in a text message Friday he also thinks they're close to getting Hanifin signed. It was the plan all along after Calgary acquired him and forward Elias Lindholm in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on June 23 for defenseman Dougie Hamilton, forward Micheal Ferland and defenseman prospect Adam Fox.

"Looking forward to getting it done soon," Treliving wrote. "We're very excited to have Noah."

Hanifin said he's hopeful to sign a contract of at least five years. Treliving wouldn't comment on the details of the negotiation.

"I think it's a great organization, they have a bright future and I want to be there for a long time, but we'll see what happens," Hanifin said. "Anything is a possibility."

Video: Hanifin, Flames continue contract negotiations

Hanifin hasn't been to Calgary yet because of the contract situation but has spent the offseason getting accustomed to his new team through conversations with friends and teammates. He said Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic called him shortly after the trade to welcome him. They've spent a lot of time discussing the upcoming trip to China, where the Flames and Boston Bruins will participate in the 2018 O.R.G. NHL China Games. They'll play preseason games in Shenzhen on Sept. 15 and in Beijing on Sept. 19.

"[Hamonic] just kept saying how great it's going to be for our team to go over there and get settled," Hanifin said. "There's going to be a lot of new faces on the team, so it'll be good for us to connect before we get going."

Hanifin said he expects to feel a sense of comfort right away because of the familiarity he has with Flames coach Bill Peters, who was his coach the past three seasons in Carolina.

"I'm only 21, there's definitely still room for improvement, but I think Bill did a great job with me [in Carolina]," Hanifin said. "He let me play. I know what he wants. I know what type of game he wants. I know what training camp will be like, so I think it'll be a little bit smoother of a transition because of that."

Hanifin said he's tight with Lindholm, and he played in Carolina with Derek Ryan, who signed a three-year, $9.375 million contract with Calgary on July 1. Hanifin said he's also close with Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk.

Hanifin mentioned Lindholm, Gaudreau and Tkachuk, and Sean Monahan and James Neal, as reasons he thinks he'll be able to raise his offensive production this season. He said he expects to play with the top six forwards often, especially on the power play.

"Being a guy that likes to jump into the play, I think I'll get the puck a lot more in certain situations," Hanifin said. "I think there is going to be a lot of opportunity there for me."

Hanifin said he looks at Hamilton's numbers last season for the Flames (17 goals, 27 assists, 44 points, 270 shots, 21:32 ice time per game) as marks he's shooting for. Hanifin, the No. 5 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, had an NHL career-high 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists) and 165 shots on goal averaging 18:52 per game in his third season with the Hurricanes.

"I want to be one of the best defensemen in the League and I definitely have the potential to do that," Hanifin said. "This year I'm going to have a little bit bigger of a role and play some more minutes. I obviously have to earn it, but if I do that, it's going to help me a lot. I think I'm ready for that next step. I think it's going to work out well."

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