Noah Hanifin Becomes a Long-Term Piece for the Golden Knights

With Noah Hanifin receiving an eight-year extension with the Vegas Golden Knights, he'll factor into the team's long-term plans.
Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights
Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights / Candice Ward/GettyImages

There wasn't much doubt that Noah Hanifin was going to be with the Vegas Golden Knights for a long time. After all, there was speculation the Golden Knights would extend the defenseman after trading for him in March.

However, that speculation became reality, with the Boston native inking an eight-year deal with the Golden Knights on Thursday. The average annual value will be worth $7.35 million each season, making him a long-term piece of Vegas's future.

Why Does Noah Hanifin Fit?

Since he was acquired by the Vegas Golden Knights on March 6, Noah Hanifin's had no trouble fitting in with the club. The defenseman already has two goals (team-best since March 6) and seven assists in 16 games with Vegas. On top of that, he's led the team with a +7 rating during his tenure.

But Hanifin also fits within the power play, delivering both goals on the man advantage. The Golden Knights have searched for help on the power play for years (to no avail). With Hanifin and Tomas Hertl, Vegas is banking on their two new acquisitions to turn the unit's fortunes around.

That includes Hanifin setting up and Tomas Hertl creating chaos in front of the net. Everyone loves chaos, and with the Golden Knights's two new additions wrecking opposing penalty kills, fans are getting their money's worth.

But What About the Pending Free Agents?

That's a question Kelly McCrimmon and company will address in the off-season. Numerous names are looking to come back, including Jonathan Marchessault and Chandler Stephenson. With limited cap space, it might be a limbo for the Vegas Golden Knights.

But the silver lining for the Golden Knights is the salary cap is expected to grow next season. With up to $4.2 million being bumped up next season, it should give Vegas some wiggle room to work with.

However, it's still fair to assume trades will be made. After all, Ivan Barbashev and Adin Hill wouldn't be here if Reilly Smith wasn't dealt. The Golden Knights aren't afraid to ship older players off or simply let them walk. There are plenty of notable free agents that are climbing the age ranks.

But for now, McCrimmon is just working on establishing the long-term core. That starts with Hanifin, who's looking to etch his name in the eternal annals of Vegas Golden Knights history. His first go-round is proving to be a great start, giving Golden Knights fans hope.