The Vegas Golden Knights signed defenseman Noah Hanifin to an eight-year, $58.8 million contract extension on Thursday.

Hanifin was acquired by Vegas from the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline and was set to become an unrestricted free agent. Between the teams this season, Hanifin has managed 13 goals and 44 points in 77 games. The defenseman's deal will carry a $7.35 million cap hit, while also coming with a no-trade clause.

Below, we take a look at how the extension looks for the Golden Knights.

The Player

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Noah Hanifin (15) awaits a face off against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at T-Mobile Arena.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Hanifin began his career with the Carolina Hurricanes after being selected fifth overall in 2015. However, after his entry-level contract, he was quickly moved to Calgary, where he spent parts of six seasons.

Now signed at just 27 years old, Hanifin can be a mainstay with the Golden Knights for the foreseeable future. After paying a large price to acquire him, being able to extend Hanifin is a big win for Vegas.

A good skater, Hanifin is able to transport the puck while also contributing offensively. Since the 2021-22 season, the defender has scored at a pace of 10 goals and 45 points per 82 games. Meanwhile, Hanifin's usage has steadily increased from year-to-year, his 23 minutes per game this season marking the most of his career.

Hanifin should be a great fit in Vegas, slotting in on the left side of the defense group. The team was already able to bring back their entire defense group from the Stanley Cup win. Now with the addition of Hanifin, their blue line looks deeper than ever.

With Alec Martinez on an expiring contract, though, Hanifin also acts as the clear replacement for next year. With Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb, and now Hanifin, not to mention Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud as well, Vegas has an established defensive group that can remain in place.

The Cap Hit

At $7.35 million per year, the Golden Knights get Noah Hanifin at a fairly reasonable price. There are some clear comparable deals to Hanifin's contract, with Morgan Rielly being one example at $7.5 million per year.

Realistically, if the defenseman had hit free agency, he likely could've reached a higher cap hit. He would've been one of the best players available this summer and teams would've been lining up to pay him.

Hanifin was previously close to an extension with Calgary for $7.5 million per year, according to Pierre LeBrun. However, Vegas also benefits, at least to an extent, from no state tax. As a result, Hanifin can take a lower cap hit with the Golden Knights than he would need to make the same amount of money from many other teams around the league. We saw this with Alex Pietrangelo arguably taking a slightly lower cap hit when signing with the team in 2020.

But with Hanifin in his prime, the $7.35 million cap hit looks fine. He's taken a step in his game over the last few years, increasing both his production and usage. Plus, with the salary cap now expected to see some sizable increases in the coming years, it's only going to look better.

So while Hanifin's cap hit is already fine as is, it could end up being a steal in a few years.

The Term

Noah Hanifin was always likely to get maximum term, whether that was an eight-year deal with Vegas or a seven-year deal in free agency. Of course, the Golden Knights being able to provide the eighth year is a huge incentive to stay with the team as well.

Given his age, Hanifin also likely isn't going to see a decline until possibly very late in his deal. Only just entering his late 20s, the defenseman is right in his prime, just as the Golden Knights are contending. With a good chunk of their roster also locked up for several more years, the team could continue competing long-term.

The other consideration is that Hanifin will have trade protection for the full length of the deal. He'll have a full no-trade clause for the first six years of the contract, before it becomes a 15-team no-trade list in the final two years.

Trade protection is never ideal for a team, but it's become pretty much expected for top players' contracts. For much of the deal, the Golden Knights don't have any sort of an out if the it goes south, but the trade protection becoming a modified no-trade list does help. Again, though, given Hanifin's age, a decline in the first half of the contract unlikely anyways.

In the prime of his career, Hanifin's cap hit is fair. Especially as the salary cap rises, the deal should likely only continue to look better in the next few years. The defender is set to be a key part of the team's defense group going forward as the Golden Knights look for another Stanley Cup.

Grade: A-