Flames Shouldn’t Rush to Extend MacKenzie Weegar

In the days after acquiring both Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar from the Florida Panthers, it was clear that the Calgary Flames needed to do everything in their power to get both signed to contract extensions. After all, at the time of the deal, both were on contracts that had just one year remaining.

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That issue was quickly worked out with Huberdeau, as less than two weeks after the trade was made he agreed to a massive eight-year, $84 million deal, the richest in Flames history. As for Weegar, he has said all the things Flames fans have wanted to hear and truly does seem committed to the organization. That said, a deal has yet to be worked out, and according to Elliotte Friedman, if it doesn’t come about soon, talks may come to a halt.

“From what I understand right now I believe MacKenzie Weegar’s goal is to say ‘we have this done by the start of the season or we stop talking,’” Friedman said on his 32 Thoughts podcast. “Even he said at the beginning of training camp that there was reason to believe it was worked out, and I do think the two sides are taking a run at it. One of the things I’ve heard is that his preference is once the puck drops, shelve it.”

MacKenzie Weegar Florida Panthers
MacKenzie Weegar with the Florida Panthers (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

This likely sounds all too familiar for Flames fans, who heard the same spiel at this time last year from Johnny Gaudreau, who ultimately did stop on extension talks during the regular season and ended up leaving in favor of the Columbus Blue Jackets via free agency. Now, that isn’t to say that Weegar will do the same, though the risk of losing him would obviously increase plenty if a deal isn’t worked out before the season begins.

Weegar Won’t Come Cheap

After not showing a ton of potential early in his career, particularly on the offensive side of things, Weegar’s stock has gone up significantly over the past two seasons. During the shortened 2020-21 campaign, he really proved his offensive skills, registering six goals and 36 points in just 54 outings. While those numbers dipped slightly in 2021-22, they were impressive, nonetheless, with eight goals and 44 points in 80 contests.

Thanks to his numbers improving, as they have, he is in line to get a serious raise from his current contract that carries a cap hit of $3.25 million. In fact, the very informed Friedman said roughly two weeks ago that he is in the belief a deal for Weegar would look similar to the eight-year, $52 million deal Hampus Lindholm signed with the Boston Bruins back in March. That would double his salary, raising his cap hit to $6.5 million.

Given that prior to the 2020-21 season, Weegar was viewed as a very average defenseman, this could be viewed as somewhat of a risk for the Flames and may explain why a deal hasn’t been reached to this point. On top of that, it remains to be seen whether or not he will be given a spot on the team’s top power-play unit, an area of the game that is his bread and butter.

There will likely be some tweaking in the early goings of the season while Darryl Sutter decides what he likes best, but there is plenty of reason to believe the defenseman on that top power play unit will once again be Rasmus Andersson. Entering the 2021-22 season, Andersson had never broken the 30-point barrier. However, with the departure of Mark Giordano, he was given the opportunity and thrived, registering 50-points on the season. If he does continue with that role, it will lower Weegar’s value to the team, perhaps not making a potential salary of $6.5 million worth it, especially given the fact that Andersson has four more years remaining on a deal that carries a very friendly $4.55 million cap hit.

Rasmus Andersson Calgary Flames
Rasmus Andersson, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Now, this isn’t to say that Weegar won’t be a valuable part of the team. He is expected to be used in the team’s top four and could see ice time similar to the 23:22 minutes per game he averaged this past season with the Florida Panthers. That said, if there is some hesitance from the Flames’ front office to give him the money he is wanting, perhaps it is worth letting the season play out and re-evaluating once it has concluded. If at that point he has proven to be a great fit, then the two sides can attempt to work something out. If not, they saved themselves a big chunk of money and can use it next summer in free agency in an attempt to bolster their roster even further.


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