Announced early Thursday afternoon, at some point while I was getting vial after vial of bloodwork completed, the Florida Panthers have come to contractual terms with defenseman Mackenzie Weegar, signing the QMJHL product to an entry level deal.
The Halifax Mooseheads’ rearguard delivered a strong sophomore campaign, building off of the successes of a 44-point rookie year spent skating alongside the likes of first-year NHL sensation Nathan Mackinnon and shifty playmaker Jonathan Drouin. His 59 points-off of 12 goals-were good for fourth among Quebec Major Junior blueliners, with his near point-per-game pace setting the tone for the Mooseheads’ offensive dynamo. Ascending to new heights, the 5’11” Ottawan contributed 22 points during Halifax’s 16-game playoff run, proving himself a key cog of the semifinal streak that was ended by eventual champions Val-d’Or.
Weegar, veteran of last season’s training camp, appeared in one preseason match for the Sunrise-based hockey club, notching an assist; the former seventh-rounder figures to earn an extended look next go-around, as General Manager Dale Tallon has expressed his belief that “Easy Mac” possesses the skill capable of quarterbacking the Cats’ power play for years to come. Contingent on his exhibition play and the depth on the Florida blue-line, the right-handed shooter may find himself manning the special teams unit sooner rather than later.