The Florida Panthers and MacKenzie Weegar agreed to terms, tying the right-handed defenseman to Sunrise, Florida for another season.
On July 25th, at 3:45 pm, it was announced that the Florida Panthers and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar agreed to terms on a one-year, one-way deal. Weegar, who previously filed for salary arbitration, was expected to receive his hearing on July 30th.
Instead, a hearing was avoided, and both parties worked out an agreement that would keep Weegar in South Florida for another year. Panthers GM Dale Tallon had this to say about the freshly signed MacKenzie Weegar:
"“We are pleased to have agreed to terms with MacKenzie. He is a versatile, young two-way defender who made big strides in his development during his rookie season. We’re excited about keeping our group of talented young players together after their contributions to our strong finish last season. We look forward to watching our club build from that success this coming season and for years to come.”"
In 60 games played for the Cats this season, the Canadian-born defenseman recorded 2G, 6A, and 8 points. The previous year (2016-17), Weegar featured in 3 games, failing to register a single point. But despite going pointless during those three games, it was the learning experience that ultimately mattered for the young MacKenzie Weegar.
At 24 years of age, Weegar has shown that he can step in and out of the lineup at any time, contributing on a consistent basis. He isn’t a defenseman who will rack up a ton of points, but it’s his defensive presence on the bottom pairing that shows his worth.
That’s also not to imply that he can’t score or contribute offensively, because he can. Just take a look at his first career NHL goal which was scored against the
. A beauty, isn’t it?
Weegar provides needed stability at the back moving forward and offers the Panthers a reliable option on the bottom line. He likely won’t play in every game this year, but when he’s called upon to play, he’ll be ready.
MacKenzie treats every game like it’s a tryout, knowing very well that if he slips up, his spot on the team is up for grabs. For a rotational defenseman, he plays his part well, and can only improve as he matures with age.
For all parties alike, this was the right decision for MacKenzie Weegar. For a team who’s on the rise looking to push for postseason play, this is the right environment for Weegar going forward. He may not be a defenseman who can play in all 82 games, but he is a player who can be counted on when the going gets tough.