After sustaining a shoulder injury on the weekend, Noah Hanifin’s season is over. The Calgary Flames confirmed that Hanifin will require season-ending shoulder surgery, ending what has been a rollercoaster season for the 24-year-old defenseman.
One could argue that Hanifin has been the team’s best defenseman this season, though it certainly hasn’t been all rosy for the former Carolina Hurricane. Hanifin has 15 points through 47 games and at one point had the longest streak in the league without allowing a goal against, but there have also been times where he has looked overmatched taking on the opponent’s best. Calgary as a group has shown moments of dominance among a sea of ineptitude this season but is amazingly still within striking distance of the final playoff spot in the North Division.
Because they sit just four points behind the Montreal Canadiens, it’s hard not to see this as anything but a disaster for the Flames. Hanifin averages more than 20 minutes a night for the team, contributes on both special teams, and is one of only three regular Calgary defensemen with any offensive upside.
Without him, the team will be forced to look elsewhere for help on the blue line. Michael Stone has played in 12 games this season and Oliver Kylington has played in six. One of those two will likely have an expanded role, but it’s hard to rely on either at this point.
It is not clear exactly what Hanifin’s timeline looks like right now, with the Flames set to provide more information later this week.