How does Noah Hanifin help the Golden Knights?

Noah Hanifin is heading to the Vegas Golden Knights, and the move shows that general manager Kelly McCrimmon is going all-in to win back-to-back titles.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Calgary Flames
Pittsburgh Penguins v Calgary Flames / Derek Leung/GettyImages

Noah Hanifin was one of the biggest names for the 2024 trade deadline, and the Vegas Golden Knights won the sweepstakes for a player who found himself linked to quite a few of the NHL’s top teams. While Vegas has struggled through a bit of a slide lately, they are still the most recent Stanley Cup winners, so that fact alone would entice any trade top candidate to call the Mojave Desert home. 

Hanifin’s trade to the Golden Knights comes just one day after they acquired forward Anthony Manta from the Washington Capitals, making it the second solid move general manager Kelly McCrimmon has made in the last 24 hours. 

While Hanifin will help the Knights in the short run, he will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2023-24 season, and you can expect him to demand a large sum of cash and a long-term deal in the offseason. That said, he may be nothing more than a rental if Vegas can’t match what he wants, but let’s hold off on the contract talks for now and talk about how he helps the Knights.

Noah Hanifin instantly makes the Golden Knights a great hockey team

Okay, as the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Vegas was already an excellent team. But given their up-and-down calendar year so far, they needed to rejuvenate themselves with a few big moves. And acquiring Hanifin should do that, starting with the way he plays solid hockey in every zone. 

Hanifin is also a constant scoring threat when he’s possessing the puck and when quarterbacking power plays. He has been one of the most durable players through 61 games this season, logging 23:46 of average total ice time, and he’s been taking a lot of pucks away over the past two seasons, with 101 takeaways dating back to October 2022. 

He’s a player who will continue to record first-pairing minutes in Vegas, and he adds another layer of scoring for a team that currently ranks 13th in the league with 201 goals. Hanifin will help Vegas’ goaltenders by getting in front of would-be shots on goal (89 blocks this season), and he will improve the power play and penalty kill, both of which are hovering around the league average in conversion and success rate.

Overall, trading for Hanifin is the best move the Golden Knights could have made if they wanted to maximize their chances to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. Now, let’s watch Hanifin upgrade the Knights all over the ice and in literally any situation.