MacKenzie Weegar Making Strides with Florida Panthers

MacKenzie Weegar
CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 24: Florida Panthers Defenceman MacKenzie Weegar (52) celebrates a goal during the second period of an NHL game where the Calgary Flames hosted the Florida Panthers on October 24, 2019, at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In 2013 the Florida Panthers drafted MacKenzie Weegar 206th overall in the NHL Entry Draft. One of the final picks of the entire draft. The former Halifax Moosehead has been apart of the Panthers organization for some time now. He has been relentless in working toward making the big club.

MacKenzie Weegar

Since being drafted, Weegar’s career within the Panthers organization seen him bouncing up and down. He has spent time between both the minor leagues and the NHL. Between the 2016-17 season and the 2019-20 season, Weegar has played 141 games. In those games, he recorded nine goals and 23 assists totalling 32 points. Also, he has added 113 penalty minutes that adds another dimension to the puck-moving defenceman’s game.

Currently, Weegar is tied for sixth on the team in points with nine total points. He is tied with centreman Denis Malgin and defensive partner Aaron Ekblad. Weegar is starting to come into his own. Being a big part of this Florida Panthers team that has hope to return to the playoffs.

The Separation

MacKenzie Weegar was one of the least likely players to be matched up on the first line with former first overall pick Aaron Ekblad. However, the chemistry has been great. This is proving that he and Ekblad belong as the top defensive pairings for the Panthers. On top of that, it is allowing Weegar to take that next step in his game.

After only one month into the season, MacKenzie Weegar is already having his best season yet. A mere seven points away from his career-high and plenty of ice-time. He is averaging the third-highest time on ice with 20:47. Making sure to take advantage of it, Weegar has done everything possible to prove why he deserves it.

Weegar has earned his spot as one of the top defencemen through many avenues. His skating ability is second to none. The edgework and speed he contains allow him to help break the puck out of the zone quickly. Not only does this allow him to move the puck out of the zone, but he is also excellent at creating that first tape-to-tape pass that starts the whole rush. MacKenzie can see the ice well, this allows him to read the opposition even better. If given the room Weegar is not afraid to take any room that is given to him and one of the higher production rates for the Florida Panthers in general.

Looking Forward

Adopting to Head Coach Joel Quenneville’s system very well, Weegar is known better as a puck-moving defenceman. Yet, in each game, he has found himself to be quite responsible in the defensive zone. So far, Weegar is minus one throughout 14 games at 5v5 and is third highest in Defensive Point Shares, according to Hockey-Reference.

Combining all of these skills and results, Weegar has a newfound confidence that can be seen the second he steps foot on the ice. The kind of confidence one will find in a player who is in the last year of his contract. At the moment Mackenzie Weegar is 25 years old. Currently, his contract sits at an AAV of $1.6 million, he will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. With the way Weegar has been playing throughout this season so far there is no reason for the panthers not to sign him. Year in and year out he has shown that he is maturing and excelling in his play. 

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