Surprising Turn Of Events In Noah Hanifin Situation in Calgary

While the Calgary Flames learned this weekend that top defenseman Rasmus Andersson will be lost for four games due to a suspension, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman reports that the drama surrounding another top Flames blueliner has taken a turn in a more positive direction. 

Set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, Noah Hanifin seemed uninterested all summer in considering any kind of extension with the team. But Friedman now says that contract talks on a new deal with Calgary are actually progressing. 

"Word is that the Flames and Noah Hanifin have made progress on a contract extension," reported Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada. "There is optimism, (but) nothing is done until it's done."

Hanifin had made it clear to new Flames GM Craig Conroy after he took over that he would not be signing an extension in Calgary. But recent events, including the re-signing of another key player, Mikael Backlund, and renewed talks with Elias Lindholm, who were both also pending UFAs, has got Hanifin seriously reconsidering his options. 

Still some work to be done, but, as Friedman notes, "there is optimism" that an extension with Hanifin, as unexpected as that may have seemed for the last several months, could be on the horizon. 

Photo: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports