On July 22, the Calgary Flames acquired four assets for the departing Matthew Tkachuk: Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a conditional 2025 first-round pick. Before the first regular season game Huberdeau and Weegar play with the club, they and the Flames will have committed to each other for a combined 16 seasons and $134 million.
It’s safe to say that Brad Treliving is betting big on the guys he’s acquired. But they’re betting big on the Flames, too.
For Weegar, the sixth-from-last player selected in the 2013 NHL Draft, an eight year deal (with pretty significant no-trade protection throughout) is a long way from where he started.
“It means everything,” said Weegar, speaking to the media from his stall in the Flames locker room. “When I signed the deal, I just thought about how long a road it’s been for me. From junior B to the Coast and now to here. All my friends and family and all the support, it’s not just me that signed the deal, it’s everyone around me.”
Weegar’s journey has seen him make stops with the CCHL’s Nepean Raiders, the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, and the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, Portland Pirates and Springfield Falcons before landing a full-time NHL gig with the Panthers. Now, he’s the blueliner with the fourth-highest cap hit in Flames history – behind Mark Giordano ($6.75 million), Jay Bouwmeester ($6.68 million) and Dion Phaneuf ($6.5 million). Not bad company to keep, and a testament to how far Weegar’s efforts have brought him during his pro career.
Speaking of company, part of Weegar’s enthusiasm to lock in a gig with the Flames long-term was the number of championship-winning players (and coaches) around the club.
“Another reason why I signed here is because I believe in this team,” said Weegar. “They want to win, and we have a winning team, a winning coach and a winning culture, and that was another important incentive to sign here.”
For his part, Weegar left the majority of the negotiating to his agent/uncle Matthew Ebbs, and got periodic updates before giving the thumbs-up to the extension.
“I think the negotiations with Brad and with my agent, I didn’t really tend to get too involved in it,” said Weegar. “I just heard numbers and terms and then when it got down to the end there I just gave the green light and said ‘I think this is going to work for both sides.'”
When Huberdeau signed his long-term deal over the summer, he spoke about how important it was to be wanted by the Flames. When asked if there was a particular moment or thing that made him feel like “Let’s do Calgary” and commit long-term to the Flames, Weegar’s thoughts turned to being given a chance to play in the league for a longer term.
“You know, for me, it’s been such a long road that I don’t really care where I am in the league,” said Weegar. “This is the NHL. I want to play in this league for as long as I can and that’s what my mindset was, and I got the long-term deal and I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed that I can play in this league for eight more years.”
Weegar’s deal kicks in starting with the 2023-24 season and runs through 2030-31.