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Weegar May Bet on Himself in Contract Talks with Flames



It’s no secret MacKenzie Weegar and the Calgary Flames have been working on an extension.

“We’re trying!” he said emphatically earlier this week when asked for the hundredth time about the status of his contract talks.

The talented defenceman was a key part of the trade that sent Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers. Flames GM Brad Treliving received stars Jonathan Huberdeau and Weegar back to help keep his team competitive. He accepted the risk that both players could walk in unrestricted free agency next summer. The move was all about giving the Calgary Flames their best chance at a return to the playoffs.

Huberdeau shocked many when he signed an eight-year extension worth $84 million, without even paying his new city a visit.

The belief was that his fellow former Floridian would follow suit.

But it seems time is of the essence from Weegar’s standpoint. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman said on his 32 Thoughts Podcast this week that Weegar has expressed to Treliving that he’s unwilling to negotiate during the season.

“From what I understand right now, I believe MacKenzie Weegar’s goal is to say, ‘We have this done by the start of the season or we stop talking.’ Even he said at the beginning of training camp that there was reason to believe it was worked out,” Friedman said. “And I do think the two sides are taking a run at it. One of the things I’ve heard is that his preference is once the puck drops, shelve it.”

It’s a common tactic, and not unfamiliar to the Flames. Johnny Gaudreau made that very move last offseason and then left the team on the first day of free agency. As I wrote a month ago, the Calgary Flames have the leverage in the short term. And that was before the exuberant rearguard claimed the Flames were better than his former Florida Panthers.

Coming off a career year, with eight goals and 44 points in 80 games last season, Weegar is no doubt deserving of a big dollars and a lengthy term. If the Flames are unwilling to give the 28-year-old what he desires, they may just call that bluff. After all, last season marked the first time Weegar played 80 games in an NHL season.

He may just be willing to bet on himself. Weegar has a prime opportunity to play bit minutes and in all situations with the Calgary Flames this season. If he emerges as their top blueliner, he’ll get the contract he wants next summer.

Even if that’s not from the Flames.

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