While the Calgary Flames may have lost two superstars this offseason, they at least got one in return, and they spent last night locking up to a long-term deal. With Jonathan Huberdeau now set to be in a Flames uniform for the next nine seasons, many eyes are glancing towards the pending UFA status of the other big piece of the Matthew Tkachuk trade: defenseman MacKenzie Weegar.
TSN Calgary’s Salim Nadim Valji reports that sources tell him Weegar has “a strong, genuine desire” to stay in Calgary and that he and the Flames will engage next week about an extension for the 28-year-old defenseman.
After a pair of seasons in which Weegar received Norris votes, his stock is at an all-time high. There’s good reason for that, though. A dominant two-way defender, Weegar had emerged as the most underrated important part of the Panthers team that’s been on a meteoric rise the past few seasons. Now bringing his talents to Calgary, he adds to one of the best defense cores in the Western Conference, at least for next season.
But looking at Calgary’s future, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be too challenging to get an extension done with Weegar. The two albatross contracts weighing down Calgary’s salary cap picture for the upcoming season, Milan Lucic and Sean Monahan, both expire at the end of 2022-23. With more than $11MM coming off the books in the form of those two deals, the Flames will have upwards of $15MM in space to work with next offseason, per CapFriendly, with few other big contracts to sign.
It’s the 2024 offseason where things get tricky. The majority of their core, including Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Tyler Toffoli, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, and Oliver Kylington all hit the UFA market then, and with the salary cap only expected to increase a further $1MM to $84.5MM, things might get tricky with a solid few of those players at least due significant raises.
In the immediate future, though, a long-term extension for Weegar shouldn’t pose any problems for the Flames.