Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Moving MacKenzie Weegar to the Ottawa Senators (or any team) should not happen at this point
1 month ago
Since the latest report by David Pagnotta at The Fourth Period, there have been talks around Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators Twitter (and other social media platforms as well) regarding a potential deal for Flames defenseman MacKenzie Weegar.
Immediately after this report was published, there were many on the Senators’ side of the aisle who were more than willing to trade for Weegar. I mean, who wouldn’t want a right-handed defenceman who plays the left side, is adaptable depending on who is coaching him, is never afraid to throw the body around, and is a huge leader off the ice as well as on the ice? Sounds like a good fit for any team.
However, I am here to say that if Craig Conroy were to trade Weegar, it would be a huge mistake for many reasons.
To start, Weegar has a no-trade clause for the rest of this season and the three seasons after, before it becomes a modified no-trade clause that involves a 10-team no-trade list for the rest of his contract until it expires in 2030-31 (via Cap Friendly). So, if the Flames were to even entertain the idea of trading Weegar, he has every right within his contract to refuse a trade to Ottawa for whatever reasons he may have. The 30-year-old defenceman is from Ottawa, so he likely wouldn’t be opposed on the “it’s too far away from home” grounds, but there are plenty of other reservations that players could have about being moved.
The next part of this potential trade situation involves the question, “What are the two teams involved looking for?”
For the Senators, it’s quite simple: acquire a character defenceman who can help on both sides of the puck (especially defensively), in the physicality department, and be involved in the development of their young core.
For the Flames, if they were to look for a return, it would be to acquire a young player (Thomas Chabot could make sense), prospects, and picks. But, that would be if they were looking for a return.
The problem lies, however, in the fact that they also have a core of young players who need character veterans around them to aid their development. So, why would the Flames trade not only one of their best defencemen but one of their players who is helping their younger, more inexperienced players find their way in the NHL? And it wouldn’t be trading him away to any team; it would be trading him away to a team that also needs that kind of asset.
If the Flames were toward the top of the standings and they didn’t have a priority set to develop young players, then it would be a different conversation. However, even though the Flames still have a shot at the playoffs, building a team where young players can thrive and develop should still be at the top of the list, and that involves having veterans like Weegar around.
And finally, as I mentioned before, Weegar has legitimately been one of the Flames’ best defencemen in 2023-24. As much as he means to the young players and to the locker room in general, he’s also producing very well statistically.
In 43 games played this season, Weegar has nine goals (a career-high) and 17 assists for a total of 26 points. He’s on pace for 49 points, which would be five more points than his previous career high set with the Florida Panthers in their 2021-22 Presidents’ Trophy-winning season.
Not only has Weegar been strong in the box score, but his analytics back up the notion that he has been one of the Flames’ best defencemen. They also support the narrative that he has been one of the best defencemen in the NHL.
Despite his below-average expected goals-for percentage (xGF%) at 48.98 percent, which comes in 67th out of 101 defencemen that have played at least 600 minutes of time on ice at 5v5, and his curiously low goals above replacement (GAR), which comes in 80th of 108 defencemen in those same conditions, he sits 25th of those same 108 in expected goals above replacement (xGAR).
This is his individual impact visual from Micah Blake McCurdy’s site, HockeyViz, showcasing that his offensive impact is below average (despite his career high in goals), but his defense has been strong.
At the end of the day, the Flames trading Weegar should not happen, and the likelihood that it does is very remote. He has been one of their best defencemen, and he’s an integral part of a locker room that is growing closer with each passing game. Not only that, but the young players, especially on defence, can use him as a resource to work their way through their individual journeys at the start of their NHL careers.
Sorry to burst any bubbles, but Weegar should (and likely will be) off-limits.
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