The arbitration process for 2020 is now over as MacKenzie Weegar, the final player with a hearing scheduled for this weekend has signed a new contract with the Florida Panthers. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that Weegar will sign a three-year deal with an average annual value of $3.25MM. The full breakdown is as follows:
- 2020-21: $2.0MM
- 2021-22: $3.0MM
- 2022-23: $4.75MM
Weegar was scheduled for a hearing on Sunday, the final day of arbitration, and would have had to exchange filings with the team today. That hearing will obviously no longer be necessary.
The 26-year-old has turned into one of the more underrated defensive defensemen in the league over the last few seasons, spending a good amount of his ice time alongside Aaron Ekblad in Florida. Though he doesn’t give you much offensively—Weegar has just 41 points in 172 career games—Weegar has consistently posted strong possession numbers and is a staple on the penalty kill.
Standing just 6’0″ and without exceptional speed, Weegar does a little bit of everything on the ice. He’ll hit when needed, but will never lead the league in that category and isn’t going to blind you with any 100-foot stretch passes. But he can quietly shut down rushes with strong position and an active stick, making life easier on his partner.
That might be why so many teams were linked to him this offseason as a potential trade candidate. Now that he has a contract, perhaps that talk will resume (teams rarely like to trade for a player with an arbitration case on the schedule) but if not, he’ll slot in behind Ekblad, Keith Yandle, and Anton Stralman as a rock-solid fourth option in Florida.