It seems inevitable that Noah Hanifin's days with the Calgary Flames are numbered. Over the weekend, news broke that the longtime Alberta defenseman was told by the team that they would not be re-signing him to a long-term deal.

As the former No. 5 overall pick is an unrestricted free agent come this summer, it is almost certain that Flames general manager Craig Conroy will ship the 27-year-old out of town ahead of the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline.

And one place where the Boston native is looking to end up? That would be Tampa Bay, according to Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli.

“The indication that I have is, if you were to pinpoint it on a map, I think the Hanifan camp has expressed to the Flames that he has interest in signing in Tampa Bay,” the hockey insider said on his DFO podcast on Monday. “I don't know how mutual it is, but the Lightning are in need of defense.”

Despite losing Mikhail Sergachev to a devastating injury that will cost the Russian at least the rest of the regular season, the Bolts continue to battle in a gauntlet of an Atlantic Division.

Tampa is currently 30-22-5 and just three points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the No. 3 spot in the division. They also hold the first wildcard berth in the Eastern Conference through 57 games.

Could Noah Hanifin to the Lightning materialize?

There are reportedly a ton of teams looking to acquire Hanifin's services, which makes a ton of sense as he will be a key defensive piece of any Stanley Cup contending team in 2024.

But do the Bolts have the assets?

“Whether the Bolts are able to come up with the assets to make that work now at the trade deadline is uncertain, and it's possible that they just might have to wait until Hanifin hits unrestricted free agency this summer—assuming, of course, that he doesn't fall in love with some other team that he's traded to by March 8th,” wrote NHL Trade Rumors' Dave Litman.

“That's the risk that Tampa Bay would take if they can't engineer something before the deadline. As far as a trade, the Lightning don't really have the assets at this point—they don't have a first-round pick to offer until 2026. And when it comes to waiting until free agency, they could have about $10 million in cap space to sign both Hanifin and their own impending UFA Steven Stamkos.”

Currently making $4.95 million against the cap, Hanifin will be due for a raise with his next contract. That could be very difficult for Tampa Bay to pull off, although it's clear the team is looking to make at least one more deep postseason run with the current core. The Bolts won back-to-back titles in 2020 and 2021.

“He's not necessarily going to be traded to the place that he's going to end up,” Seravalli concluded.

It'll be intriguing to see both where Noah Hanifin ends up after March 8 and who he'll be playing for in 2024-25.