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Calgary Flames blueliner MacKenzie Weegar has been great since the All-Star Break

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
2 months ago
If you watched the Calgary Flames during the 2023 calendar year and somehow entered the year with zero knowledge of the players on the team, one of the things you would probably remark upon – aside from confusion about your sudden amnesia – is the emergence of blueliner MacKenzie Weegar.
Acquired from the Florida Panthers in the 2022 off-season in the Matthew Tkachuk mega-deal, Weegar was a well-regarded secondary defender who probably didn’t get the accolades his play deserved in South Florida. And that’s not meant as a dig at the player or our colleagues in scenic Florida, but rather that a lot of things that Weegar did well in a depth role weren’t the kind of things that lent themselves to stories or clips that went viral.
Weegar was a really smart, savvy, 200-foot blueliner whose offensive numbers didn’t pop and who didn’t usually rock opponents with big hits. He was a player that fans enjoyed watching, but weren’t exactly going to rush out to grab the jersey of.
But in Calgary, Weegar’s game has found a whole new level – especially offensively.
Speaking to the media during exit interviews following the 2022-23 season, Weegar disclosed that he didn’t feel fully comfortable in his new surroundings until after the All-Star Break.
Here’s a statistical rundown of Weegar’s play before the 2023 All-Star Break, and after.
BeforeAfter
Games4962
Goals
(per game)
1
(0.020)
10
(0.161)
Assists
(per game)
14
(0.286)
23
(0.371)
Points
(per game)
15
(0.306)
33
(0.532)
Plus/Minus+3+12
ES goals
(per game)
1
(0.020)
9
(0.145)
ES points
(per game)
13
(0.265)
27
(0.435)
Shots
(per game)
87
(1.776)
148
(2.387)
xGF/60 (5v5)2.872.92
xGA/60 (5v5)2.172.29
PDO (5v5)0.9680.983
So there are two things happening within Weegar’s underlying numbers between the two periods:
  • More stuff happened when he was on the ice after the All-Star Break
  • The puck started going in more frequently for his team after the All-Star Break
The Flames, as a group, had horrendous puck luck in the first half of 2022-23, and Weegar was one of the victims of that phenomenon. But Weegar also got more involved in the play, took more shots, and created more offensive havoc than he did earlier on.
In 62 games since the 2023 All-Star Break, Weegar has 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points, a plus-12 rating, and 149 shots. In that span, he leads Flames defencemen in goals, points, plus/minus, even strength goals and points, and shots.
And he stacks up surprisingly well league-wide, too:
  • Tied for 14th in goals by a defenceman (with Jake Walman, Victor Hedman and Kris Letang)
  • Tied for 6th in in even strength goals by a defenceman (with K’Andre Miller, Walman, Josh Morrissey, Mike Matheson and Brent Burns)
  • Tied for 13th in even strength points by a defenceman (with Rasmus Dahlin, Miro Heiskanen and Charlie McAvoy)
  • Tied for 6th in shots by a defenceman (with Erik Karlsson)
And remember: during the post-All-Star span, the Flames have had the 27th-best power play in the NHL. Weegar’s been performing well and putting up counting stats that are putting him in the same neighbourhood as some of the NHL’s top blueliners, and he’s doing it despite getting few points on special teams.
There’s a lot of things that can frustrate fans about the Flames these days – and rightfully so. But it’s important to highlight things that are working, and Weegar’s game is flat-out working, and has for the bulk of 2023.

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