The Calgary Flames wasted almost no time signing their shiniest new forward to a long-term extension. Brad Treliving had dinner with Jonathan Huberdeau for the first time in Montreal last week, and three days later inked him to an eight-year extension. The next player in line for a long term-extension is defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, who has expressed a “genuine desire” to sign long-term in Calgary.
Weegar is a high-end player, and will be looking to sign the biggest contract of his career this summer. Let’s take a look at what that contract might look like.
Weegar’s bio info and career status
Weegar is a 28-year-old right-shot defenceman who was drafted 206th overall in the seventh round of the 2013 NHL Draft. He played his first NHL game in the 2016–17 season and has played five consecutive NHL seasons since. At 6’0″ and 201 lbs, Weegar is a large but not huge blueliner. He does not shy away from contact, dishing out 179 hits last season and taking 141. He also blocked 156 shots.
His current contract is a three-year deal signed following an arbitration filing in the 2020 offseason. It pays him an average annual value (AAV) of $3.25M in pure salary with no bonuses. He’s in the final year of that contract. Weegar has an estimated career earnings of just over $8.6M, so his next contract is going to be massive for him.
Weegar’s on-ice results and impact
Weegar is known as a puck moving defenceman who is very good on the rush, both at creating offence for his team and defending rush chances by his opponents. He’s a very good defender who is able to chip in generously on offence, though not at an elite level. He is a pass-first defenceman who doesn’t score a lot of goals, but has consistently featured on the scoresheet in games more often than not.
In terms of counting stats, Weegar has been a fairly productive blueliner for the past few seasons.
In what was a historic offensive season for the Florida Panthers last year, Weegar put up career totals across the board with eight goals, 36 assists, and 44 points. Weegar was not a fixture on the Florida power play at all, as only 3% of his total minutes were spent on the power play last season. That will likely change in Calgary and result in a much better opportunity to produce points.
Of his 81 PIMs, 23 were minor penalties on a total of 27 penalties taken. He drew nine penalties last season for a penalty differential of -18 which isn’t very good at all. His plus-minus of 40 last season was extremely strong, though this statistic has its flaws and shouldn’t be taken as a sole indicator of his defensive ability.
On the advanced statistic side, Weegar had a very strong season, consistently driving offence and suppressing shots on defence.
Consistently, Weegar is on the right side of the ledger and for the past two seasons has been an elite possession player in the NHL. When Weegar is on the ice, good things have happened, especially for the past three seasons.
Weegar’s impact on the offensive and defensive zone has been truly incredible the past few years. When he was on the ice, the Panthers generated ~5% more expected goals than average, and allowed ~8% fewer expected goals than average.
This is very, very strong, and even last season on a defensively loose Panthers team, Weegar pushed his team to be over 2% better than average on defence.
This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is.
Excellent two-way play is a hallmark of Weegar’s game and is why he was so coveted by Treliving in this trade.
Looking at Evolving-Hockey, Weegar is one of the highest rated defenceman, period. On offence he is in the 88th percentile and on defence the 95th percentile. For a player who had essentially zero power play time, this just shows how much of a beast Weegar is at 5v5.
Basically, the hockey world, both public and private, view Weegar as an extremely gifted defenceman who has elite on-ice impacts both offensively and defensively. He is going to be a very valuable player for the Flames and will be paid accordingly.
Weegar’s best comparables
Based on his age, experience, and impact, there are a few very close comparables for Weegar. It has been rumoured that Weegar is looking for a contract similar to that of Mikhail Sergachev, who just signed a massive extension in Tampa Bay that pays him $8.5M for eight years.
However, the Sergachev extension is likely above what Weegar will command. Sergachev is going to be 25 when the extension kicks in whereas Weegar will be 30. Sergachev also has two Stanley Cups and has played a prominent role on a championship team making well below market value. Weegar does not have any of those accolades.
Three players who line up very well with Weegar that are currently signed are Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Ellis, and Justin Faulk. All are within the same age range and have similar impacts offensively and defensively.
To consider recency, the contract John Klingberg just signed with Anaheim is probably worth considering as well.
From Evolving Hockey’s player cards, here is how these five players stack up:
|Player||Signing Age||Offence Percentile||Defence Percentile||Signing Year||Term (yrs)||AAV ($M)||Cap Hit %|
Spurgeon is the best comparable for on-ice impact, but was drafted and developed by the Wild, serves as their captain, and is a bit better offensively than Weegar. He also plays on the power play.
Faulk is a good comparable for team status in that he signed shortly after being traded to the Blues from the Hurricanes. He is deployed more heavily in an offensive role.
Ellis gives a good indication of how a cap hit can come down a little when offering the maximum term.
Klingberg is the best comparable for recency and age.
Weegar’s predicted contract
From the info we have, it makes a lot of sense for Weegar to sign for a deal with a term of seven or eight years. The Flames likely want to sign him for eight years to keep his AAV down as well.
An AAV somewhere between 6.5M and 7.5M should make a lot of sense as well. Based on how contracts for defenceman have been going lately, a deal that pays Weegar $50M+ over eight years is good value and should be seen as a win for both the player and the team.
Evolving Hockey’s contract projection, which has proven to be stunningly accurate, predicts Weegar’s deal at $7.683M for seven years. That is a total contract value of 53.781M.
My prediction for his extension with Calgary is eight years at $6.875M per season. That would pay him a total of $55M (8.33% of the cap) over the max term, and take him all the way to the end of the 2030–31 season. He would be 37 years old when the deal expires.
Let’s see how soon the Flames can get Weegar’s contract inked.