Quick Bit: The two players came over to Calgary in the Matthew Tkachuk trade with one year left on their current contracts.
When it was announced Friday that Matthew Tkachuk was sent to the Panthers, not many expected to see both Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar included in the trade back to the Flames. A lot of people were quick to react that Calgary had won the trade, and there very well is a chance that you can say that it did.
That is, if the Flames can get the two players to sign extensions.
Both Huberdeau and Weegar are heading into the final year of their current contracts. While talks of Weegar getting moved had been churned out in the rumor mill, it seemed as though Florida and Huberdeau, fresh off the best regular season in Panthers history, were working their way toward an extension before the Tkachuk trade.
Now, it is up to the Flames and Treliving to get the two newest members of the organization locked in long term. At their introductory news conferences, both Huberdeau and Weegar expressed interest in staying in Calgary after next season, so extensions could be coming soon.
If Treliving can keep the two around and get new extensions done, it’s hard to look at the trade and say that the Flames lost out on the deal. Sure, Tkachuk is younger, but Calgary would be locking in one of the league’s premier passers and a great transition defenseman for a player who was not going to sign long term.
But what could those next contracts look like? Here’s how the extensions for Huberdeau and Weegar could turn out.
Jonathan Huberdeau contract details
Huberdeau is in the final year of his six-year, $35.4 million contract he signed with the Panthers in 2016. It carries an AAV of $5.9 million.
Given his production in recent years, the 29-year-old is certainly due a pay raise. He’s coming off his best season by far, leading the NHL in assists with 85 and finishing tied with Johnny Gaudreau for second in points with 115. Since his contract kicked in during the 2017-18 season, Huberdeau’s 415 points rank seventh in the NHL.
Gaudreau is a great comparison when looking at what Huberdeau’s next contract could be. Looking at the same time span of 2017 to now, Gaudreau sits in eighth in the NHL in points, accumulating 10 fewer points than Huberdeau.
The newest member of the Blue Jackets is a year younger, but still: Huberdeau should be looking at a payday similar to that of Gaudreau’s. Columbus gave the top free agent a seven-year, $68.25 million, carrying an AAV of $9.75 million, while Calgary offered him even more, an eight-year deal that had an AAV of more than $10 million.
I would expect an offer from the Flames to Huberdeau to come in around a similar length, either seven years or the full eight, at an AAV between $9 million and $10 million.
MacKenzie Weegar contract details
Weegar is in the last year of his three-year, $9.75 million deal he signed with the Panthers in 2020. The contract carries an AAV of $3.25 million.
Like Huberdeau, Weegar is most certainly due a pay raise. The 28-year-old has flourished in recent seasons into an excellent transition defenseman who can play on the left and right sides. His career-high in points was 18 when he signed his current deal and he followed that with 36 points in the shortened 2020-21 season and 44 last year.
Weegar isn’t a No. 1 defenseman; he’s more of a high-upside No. 2. He excels in the offensive zone, but he probably tops out as a 45- to 50-point defenseman. For as strong as he is in his own zone, he’s good for a bad turnover/decision here and there.
I would expect him to get a deal with an AAV somewhere between $5.5 million to $6.5 million. I could see the Ryan Pulock contract with the Islanders as a good comp. Pulock, who, like Weegar, is strong on both ends of the ice, signed an eight-year extension at 27 years old that carries an AAV of $6.15 million.
Flames salary cap space
With extensions given to neither Gaudreau or Tkachuk, that opens up the books for Treliving.
There aren’t going to be many more players demanding long-term deals after this summer, other than Huberdeau and Weegar. Sean Monahan will be a free agent in 2023, but with his diminishing play/health concerns, he either will walk or re-sign on a much cheaper deal. Milan Lucic’s $5.4 million AAV will be off the books as he’s a free agent, as well as Trevor Lewis. The only prominent RFA in 2023 will be Jusso Valimaki.
Looking at Calgary’s projected cap space, Treliving will have about $36 million to work with for next summer when Huberdeau and Weegar’s current deals expire. That number will be less as 2022 RFAs Oliver Kylington and Andrew Mangiapane likely will be given deals this summer that carry over into the 2023-24 season.
But looking ahead, Treliving has the cap space available to give both Huberdeau and Weegar the extensions they deserve, without having to worry about keeping money around for big free agents/upcoming RFAs next summer.
Originally found on Sporting News Read More