MacKenzie Weegar, a freshly acquired Calgary Flames defenseman, stated, “Obviously, coming from Florida on a solid team and then coming here now, I’d say we’re a better team than Florida is.” It’s going to be a lot of fun. I believe a lot of people have approached me around the city, a lot of fans and everything, saying how excited they are for this season and [Jonathan Huberdeau], [Nazem Kadri], and a few of new faces here. It’s going to be a great season, and I’m just as eager as they are.
Every of the Fan’s Eyes
Of course, every Florida Panthers fan’s eyes (yeah, I know, put the “all six of them” joke here) instantly focused on the “we’re a better team than Florida” section, as they should. However, as Eric Bischoff frequently states, context is king. While it’s easy to read that and conclude that Weegar has turned the other cheek (and perhaps he has), the fact is that he stated this at the 2022 Flames Charity Golf Classic. It’s more likely a case of a person attempting to adjust to his new team and supporters. That being said, it still excites me, and I hope it excites Florida as well.
I’m not sure if the statement is innocent, an effort at gamemanship before the season, or a passive hostile jab at the Cats. It appears to be the latter because it would have been simple to leave Florida out totally. Whether it was done on purpose or not, I like it since it may have started a (fun) new rivalry between these two teams, and I’m always up for rivalries. I’m sure I’d put that remark on the board whenever I played Calgary!
The Skillful Clubs
There’s no denying that Flames GM Brad Tre living did an outstanding job this offseason. After taking not one, but two stomach punches with the departures of Gaudreau and Tkachuk, probably their two greatest players, Treliving was able to acquire Huby, Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and the summer’s main target, Nazem Kadri.
The Flames are a large, skillful club that appears to be ready to dominate opponents in their division and around the league. But, as Weegar claims, are they a “better squad” than the Panthers? We don’t have a crystal ball, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens during the 2022-23 season.
But I’ll say this…although I don’t think the Cats will be packing the net as much as they did last year, and while Calgary appears to have the advantage on the blueline, it doesn’t imply Calgary is a better team than Florida. The Panthers will succeed in a different way than they did last season and should be the division’s top dog. Because the stats are so comparable, I’m really interested in comparing the goaltending between these two teams.