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Leafs, Canucks, Devils interested in Flames' pending UFA defencemen


The Toronto Maple LeafsVancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils are "the primary teams most interested" in acquiring a pending free-agent defenceman Nikita Zadorov from the Calgary Flames, according to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger.

Dreger gave the update on Insider Trading Tuesday after TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported that the Flames are "listening" when it comes to players on their roster in contract years.

"[Flames general manager Craig] Conroy politely declined to comment when we tried to talk to him after the GMs meetings as he's got a lot going on," LeBrun said. "The bottom line is this: The [Nikita] Zadorov trade request that came out Friday night was really just the tip of the iceberg. What teams are telling us is that the Flames are listening on other pending unrestricted free agents – Chris TanevNoah HanifinElias Lindholm. The Flames are ready for a roster reset here. Now, Hanifin almost signed an extension here last month, close to $60 million, but he decided he wanted to wait and think about things and now that ship has sailed.

"The Flames are listening on these guys, but they've got no hurry. They have until March 8 for the trade deadline to seek a return on these players."

Dreger previously the mentioned the Maple Leafs, Canucks and Devils are suitors for Zadorov when his trade request became public last week. The 28-year-old, who carries a cap hit of $3.75 million on his expiring deal, has one goal and six points in 14 games this season.

Tanev, 33, carries a cap hit of $4.5 million this season, his fourth in Calgary. The former Canuck has two assists in 15 games with the Flames this season.

Hanifin has two goals and six points in 15 games this season while carrying a cap hit of $4.95 million. The 26-year-old is in his sixth season with the Flames after being acquired in 2018 from the Carolina Hurricanes along with Elias Lindholm in a deal that saw Dougie Hamilton, among other pieces, head the other way.

The Flames, who missed the playoffs last season, improved to 5-8-2 this season with Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.