Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hanifan: I Know I can Play at this Level

Carolina's 18-year-old defender Noah Hanifan is no longer one of several rookies waiting to know what his future holds this year. With eight games under his belt, Carolina brass have decided that Hanifan's services are valuable enough for them to burn the first year on his entry-level contract.

Perhaps in a move to buy a little time, the Hurricanes sat Hanifan on Tuesday night, allowing the youngster to take in a game from the pressbox as well as meet with NHL commish Gary Bettman. Apparently, they've made up their mind and Hanifan will be back in the lineup tonight against the Islanders in Brooklyn. Here's a tweet from NHL staff writer Mike Morreale

By all accounts, Hanifan has been solid at the NHL level in his first eight games. The Boston native has averaged 16:57 a game (7th among rookie defenseman) putting up two assists and 10 shots while going a minus-3.

Hanifan, a 6'3, 205-lb, left-handed d-man, says he's ready to play with the big boys. He made his case recently:

"I can only speak for myself, but I know I can play at this level and now I'm experiencing it," Hanifin said. "There are some things I still need to work on and that's going to happen. I know I'll make mistakes throughout the year because that's how it is, since it's such a hard League. But I know I can keep up with the speed and physicality of the game."

He added: "When I have the puck, I feel pretty confident out there."

'Canes star center Eric Staal gave him his own personal endorsement as well: