Florida inks Mackenzie Weegar to 3-year extension

MacKenzie Weegar #52 of the Florida Panthers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MacKenzie Weegar #52 of the Florida Panthers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Florida Panthers made an important signing on Friday by bringing back defenseman Mackenzie Weegar for the next three years.

General manager Bill Zito really likes the young bruiser and is a fan of what he brings to the team. According to the first year GM he stated: “MacKenzie is a solid two-way competitor who brings tenacity and skill to our lineup. He has developed into a key member of the Panthers both on and off the ice and we look forward to him taking the next step in his career.”

Weegar is currently 26-years-old and he will stay with the Panthers for the next three seasons through 2022-23.

His contract is worth $9.75 million with an average annual value of $3.25 million per year. Weegar has become a steal for the Panthers. Florida originally selected him in the 7th round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The defensive specialist has been extremely underrated since becoming a regular in the Cats lineup in the 2017-18 campaign.

He brings the intensity and defensive prowess that the Panthers need. He could be in the lineup full-time, most likely on the third defensive pairing. He would be a great asset on the penalty kill, which is an area the team has struggled at sometimes.

MacKenzie Weegar, 52
MacKenzie Weegar #52 of the Florida Panthers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

In 2019-20, Weegar played in 45 games accounting for a career-high 18 points (7 G, 11 A). He also played in four games during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the New York Islanders, notching just one assist during that assist.

Weegar also established a new career-high in ATOI during the 2019-20 regular season with 20:07, illustrating the trust he has built with Panthers Head Coach Joel Quenneville, who is known for his defensive expertise.

As for the deal itself, both sides avoid arbitration and this will take the defenseman straight to unrestricted free agency in 2023. This would give him plenty of time to earn that lucrative contract that he has been looking for. While he still needs improvement on the offensive side of the puck, he is stout defensively. The Panthers just made their defense a lot deeper with this move.

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Overall, the Florida Panthers are looking to get tougher to play against under new General Manager Bill Zito, and re-signing MacKenzie Weegar for the next three years certainly goes a long way towards accomplishing that particular goal.