The Hurricanes talked a big game ahead of the draft. New owner Tom Dundon promised to shake things up, and we all expected Carolina to be active on Day 1. While winger Jeff Skinner emerged as the most likely big name on the move, it's not surprising that Hanafin and Lindholm were traded.
Contract talks between Lindholm's camp and the Canes reportedly stalled, which clearly triggered this blockbuster. Hanifin is a restricted free agent, and after setting a career high with 10 goals last season (and a total of 32 points) while rounding out his defensive game, he's in line to get paid like a top-pairing defenseman. That decision is now on Calgary.
Meanwhile, a team very conscious of its financials gets a very seasoned defenseman in Dougie Hamilton at a controlled rate: $5.75 million through the 2021 season, with a modified no-move clause in the final two years. That softens the loss of Hanifin. Adam Fox, a 2016 third-round pick by the Flames (No. 66 overall), is a tremendous high-ceiling prospect with offensive prowess. He has put up great numbers, and excelled at this year's IIHF World Junior Championships. The only problem? He's already committed to a third season at Harvard, and could stay all four without signing — which would make him a free agent. Calgary was always aware of that, and now it's Carolina's problem; however, the change of scenery could change the dynamics. If he does sign, Fox would bring high-end offensive prowess to the Carolina blue-line group.
Ferland, 26, has proved to be lot better than many expected but is really only a bottom-six forward. Ferland is cheap ($1.75 million) and versatile (can play both wings), making him a fine roster gap-filler before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.
There's not a whole lot to criticize here. Carolina unloads some problematic contract situations and in return, gets players who help them stay competitive next season — and take a risk on a player who could play a huge role for the team in the future.
New Flames coach Bill Peters has history with Hanifin and Lindholm and clearly had input in this move. There's a lot to like about both players, who were selected No. 5 overall in the 2015 and 2013 drafts, respectively. Both are restricted free agents, but Calgary clearly has confidence it can get both deals done.
Hanifin is just 21 and could develop into one of the standout defensemen in this league for some time. He's a left-handed D, meaning he's not necessarily going to replace Hamilton on a pairing with Mark Giordano. Hamilton and Giordano were fantastic last season, leading all NHL duos in Corsi for percentage (58.54 percent) and expected goal plus/minus (13.77). They'll have to bank on Giordano being effective with somebody else, and likewise with Hanifin.
Lindholm is more exciting here because he's ready to make the jump. Peters should give Lindholm a fair shake among Calgary's big guns, including potential time alongside Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.
The Flames are a team bustling with talent that should have been much better than they were last season (a late-season spiral was their ultimate demise). The hope is that with a new coach and a few new faces, things can fall into place.