2015 NHL Draft Prospect Profiles: Noah Hanifin


Our third NHL Draft Prospect Profile brings forth our first defenseman.  One would normally expect a top tier defender in the top five, and American Noah Hanifin fits the bill.  Many experts and mock draft sites see Hanifin following Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel as the third overall Draft pick.  Hanifin has the potential to become a franchise-level defender for years to come.

The Carolina Hurricanes may have fallen out of the realm of possibility of landing junior phenom centers McDavid and Eichel, but it becomes much more realistic to expect a chance and landing the third overall pick.  This is wholly dependent upon the NHL Draft Lottery, but it would be very beneficial to the team to add a defender like Hanifin.  As it stands, next year’s projected defense is shaky at best, especially at the back end.  Justin Faulk will be the centerpiece for years to come and Haydn Fleury is still developing in the WHL which leaves question marks all over the defense.  Ron Hainsey is not getting any younger, Ryan Murphy still must gain experience, John-Michael Liles has an extensive cap hit, and the remainder are serviceable at best.  I would hope to see a free agent defenseman signing, but landing a prospect like Noah Hanifin would shore up what I believe to be is our greatest weakness.  Let’s hope the Canes get lucky enough to obtain this pick in the Lottery.

Here is the prospect profile on American defenseman, Noah Hanifin.

Age:  18

Birthplace:  Norwood, Massachusetts, United States

Height:  6’2”

Weight:  205 lbs.

Position:  Defense (D)

Shoots:  Left

Current Team:  Boston College (NCAA)

Projected Ceiling:  Franchise Player

Per Eliteprospects, following his high school career with St. Sebastian’s School, Hanifin joined the USHL and the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) Juniors.  In 31 games played, Hanifin recorded 20 points (6 G, 14 A).  While captaining the US National U17 Team, he posted 32 points (8 G, 24 A) in 45 games played.  After moving up to the US National U18 Team, Hanifin added 13 points (2 G, 11 A) in 14 games.  He participated with both respective teams in the U17 World Hockey Challenge (WHC-17) and the U18 World Junior Championships (WJC-18).

For the 2014-2015 season, Hanifin committed to and plays for the Boston College Eagles and coach Jerry York.  While playing for the Eagles, Hanifin added 23 points (5 G, 18 A) in 36 games played.  Hanifin and the Eagles split the season series with Jack Eichel and the Boston University Terriers.  The defenseman also played for the United States U20 team at the U20 World Junior Championships (WJC-20).

Hanifin is currently Draft eligible.

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Per Kirk Luedeke of the Hockey Journal, “Hanifin is the total-package defenseman who brings size, skating, skill, sense and the ability to influence the game in all zones.  He can start the breakout with a quick outlet pass and has the mobility to carry the puck through the neutral zone and lead the rush himself.  [He] exhibits solid positioning and good gaps with an active stick, even though he has room to improve as he gains experience.  Instinctive; sees the ice extremely well, can control the tempo with his fluid footwork and confidence with the puck.”

The top of this year’s Draft is laden with star potential and Hanifin is no exception.  He is expected to be the first defender taken over the likes of Ivan Provorov, Zack Werenski, Thomas Chabot, and Oliver Kylington.  A NHL-ready defenseman is hard to come by in the Draft.  Aaron Ekblad immediately joined the Florida Panthers after last year’s Draft and Hanifin should do the same to whomever selects him.  A player with a good combination of size, speed, and hockey IQ, American Noah Hanifin will drastically improve the defensive corps of the team with the projected third overall selection (this is not set in stone, just projected).  If the Canes do not end up with a top pick, I would we ecstatic to acquire Noah Hanifin.  He would fit perfectly alongside Justin Faulk as a top-pairing defenseman for years to come.

In lieu of a combined highlight video, here is a “Get to Know You” video of American defenseman Noah Hanifin from YouTube and the NHL.