Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames have extended MacKenzie Weegar for eight years

Brad Treliving continues to amaze the hockey world. Dealt an impossible hand with two 100-point players leaving, he was somehow able to make this Flames team better. Now, the Summer of Brad comes to a close with the long awaited extension of defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, acquired in the blockbuster deal earlier this summer.

On October 7, at 10:09am, sources told The Win Column that there was a Flames player transaction of note coming today. Given that I was told recently that the MacKenzie Weegar extension was getting close, it made sense that this would be the announcement. Shortly after, around 10:30am, NHL insiders confirmed that the Flames and Weegar had agreed upon an eight-year extension at a price tag of $6.25M average annual value (AAV).

Shortly after, the Flames officially revealed the eight year extension, confirming that MacKenzie Weegar will be a Calgary Flame for the next nine seasons. That is such a fun sentence to write.

A look into Weegar’s new contract

The eight-year extension carries a total value of $50M, which gives an AAV of $6.25M a season. In the first four seasons of the extension, Weegar will receive $2M in signing bonuses and $4.25M in salary. In the final four seasons of the extension, Weegar will make a pure $6.25M salary.

In terms of trade protection, Weegar will have a no-trade clause in the first four years of the contract. That turns into a 10-team no-trade list in the last four seasons.

Comparable contracts to Weegar’s extension include Hampus Lindholm (8x$6.5M), Ryan Pulock (8x$6.15M), and Colton Parayko (8x$6.5M).

What does getting Weegar extended do for the Flames?

Getting Weegar locked up for eight years at a total value of $50M is a complete steal, given the way recent contracts have played out for top-tier defencemen. One of the reasons why the AAV might be a bit lower than expected is due to Weegar only having two elite seasons so far.

Weegar took a very unconventional path to the big league. Weegar started off playing across various leagues in and around Ottawa, then he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. From there, he played in the ECHL, AHL, and eventually the NHL.

Low mileage as a late bloomer

I view that as a massive positive for the Flames. While Weegar is already 28 years old, he doesn’t have the wear and tear of other NHL defencemen that have played since hard minutes way earlier in their careers. A fantastic example is former Flames captain Mark Giordano—who like Weegar, was a late bloomer—winning the Norris trophy at the ripe age of 35.

Weegar has emerged as one of the best and most complete defenders in the NHL today. He has particularly excelled at entry defence, breakout passing, possession, and entry and exit transition. As demonstrated by the Colorado Avalanche last year, having defencemen that are both good at defending their own zone, and transition the puck meaningfully up the ice is crucial. There’s a reason Weegar has been a favourite player among the analytics and data community.

Weegar does play a very aggressive game so will make the odd mistake or two, but that aggressive playstyle makes him extremely effective. Pairing him with the always stable Chris Tanev should form one of the best pairings in the league.

Comments from Weegar upon signing his contract

Weegar met with reporters shortly after signing his extension. Of note, Weegar enjoyed being around teammates here, and the winning culture that Calgary has built, starting with the head coach.

Weegar also reflected on the path it took him to get to this point, and talked about Jonathan Huberdeau’s involvement in bugging him about the extension:

We are happy for Weegar

Signing MacKenzie Weegar long-term is a fantastic decision from Flames management. Weegar is one of the game’s modern defencemen, who excels at both ends of the ice, and still has a ton of runway left because he was a late bloomer. Things were looking foggy at the beginning of the offseason. but now the Flames have a revamped core, which includes Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau, and now Weegar all signed to long-term deals.

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