In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, Mackenzie Weegar is reportedly very open to signing a long-term extension, though nothing has been agreed upon as of yet. Meanwhile, Jonathan Huberdeau, who was acquired alongside Weegar in the Matthew Tkachuk trade, announced that he will donate his brain to science. In other news, Matthew Coronato has been excelling for Team USA early in the 2022 World Juniors. Last but not least, it was announced this past week that Josh Brook will be attending training camp this Fall on a professional tryout offer (PTO).
Weegar Open to Extension
Shortly after being acquired by the Flames in exchange for Tkachuk, both Weegar and Huberdeau said they were very open to the possibility of signing extensions, as both of their current deals are set to expire at seasons end. The latter has since done so, agreeing to an eight-year, $84.5 million deal. Weegar, however, has yet to do the same, though that isn’t due to a lack of interest.
Over a week ago, TSN’s Salim Valji said in a tweet that a source informed him Weegar has a “strong, genuine desire” to sign an extension with the Flames. Valji also mentioned he believed both sides would soon begin to try and work out a new deal. The 28-year-old, who recorded a career-high 44 points last season, is set to earn a significant pay raise from his current salary of $3.25 million.
Huberdeau Pledges Brain to Science
On Monday, it was announced that Huberdeau, alongside former astronaut Marc Garneau, former female hockey player Kalley Armstrong, and Major General (retired) Denis Thompson will donate their brains to Project Enlist Canada alongside 170 Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans to help with research on brain injuries.
“As an NHL player, I’m very aware of the impact of traumatic brain injuries, concussions and the link to other mental health issues,” Huberdeau said on Monday. “I’m proud to support Canadian military veterans by pledging to donate my brain to Project Enlist and support research to improve the quality of life of all military personnel who so bravely and courageously served our country.”
With the announcement, Huberdeau becomes the second active NHL player to make this commitment, as now-retired defenceman Ben Lovejoy did the same back in 2017. Given that Huberdeau is a superstar player, this will be talked about for quite some time and could lead to more NHL players choosing to do the same in the future.
Coronato Excelling at World Juniors
Back when the World Juniors were on their regular schedule this past December, Coronato had himself a solid start to the tournament with two points through two games. Those were the only two games he would play, however, as the entire event was scrapped due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, they were able to reschedule it for this August, and Coronato is currently reaping the rewards.
The 19-year-old, who was selected 13th overall by the Flames in 2021, is a big part of the reason why Team USA currently has a perfect 4-0-0 record, as he has managed four goals and six points thus far. That goal total trails only Mason McTavish’s six tallies, while his six points rank fifth. He will look to continue this hot stretch over the next week as he and his teammates look to bring home a gold medal.
Brook Signs PTO
This past Wednesday, the Flames announced that they have invited Brook to training camp this Fall on a PTO. Just a day later, the 23-year-old signed a one-year American Hockey League (AHL) deal with the Calgary Wranglers, though he will still be attending the Flames camp in hopes of earning himself an NHL deal.
Brook, who was highly touted as a defenceman with the Moose Jaw Warriors during his time in the Western Hockey League, was selected in the second round (56 overall) by the Montreal Canadiens in 2017. To this point, his career has not panned out as hoped, as he has struggled with consistency at the AHL level. That said, he is still relatively young and still has some untapped potential, making this a very low-risk, high-reward move by the Flames. He will be a player to keep an eye on in training camp.
Looking Ahead for the Flames
At this point and time, it isn’t believed the Flames will be doing much, if anything, when it comes to roster moves ahead of training camp. That said, there are still things to monitor, the main being the Weegar situation. Ideally, he will have a new deal prior to the start of the 2022-23 season, but whether or not that pans out remains to be seen.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.