The Flames Fifteen: #7 - Michael Ferland

Justin Azevedo
June 07 2012 04:31PM

 

Certainly, stories like Michael Ferland's are not the norm when it comes to kids playing high-level hockey.

In case you were not aware, Ferland got a late start playing competitive hockey, waiting until his teenage years to pull on a sweater for a rep team. Up until that point, he had played pond hockey with his cousins, his single mother lacking the funds to put him in a truly competitive environment.

What I'm saying is that for Ferland to be ranked 7th is nothing short of remarkable.

In his draft year, Ferland was probably selected (5th round of the 2010 draft, 133rd overall) simply because Darryl Sutter likes hard-nosed western boys with size. At least, that's what you would think simply by looking at the 28 points he compiled in 2010. But Ferland has a late-April birthday, and was 17 for the vast majority of the season (I'm sure the Flames were aware of that fact, but kudos to them if it actually influenced their decision making), so the numbers may have been a bit misleading. In Ferland's 18-year-old season, he dealt with a few minor injuries, limiting him to just 56 games - but he did well with those 56 games, scoring at a point-per-game pace.

Player Kent Justin WI Scott VF Arik (not counted)
Michael Ferland 8 7 7 7 6 11

 [HockeyDB] [EliteProspects] [Hockey's Future]

*Reminder - The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he's already a bona fide NHLer).

However, this past season is where he started to light it up. Playing with Mark Stone and Brendan Walker on a dangerous Brandon Wheat Kings team, Ferland found the back of the cage 47 times in 2011-2012, and added 49 apples for a total of 96 points. Ferland played in all situations this season for the Wheaties, although admittedly the amount of time he spent on the penalty kill was minimal when compared to the amount of time he spent on the power play. Ferland obviously produced on the power play, scoring 18 PPG, for a distribution of about 61%/39% even strength goals to PP goals. That's a pretty good ratio.

One thing Ferland's definitely got going for him is his frame - listed as 6'2, 208 on a couple of websites, that'll make his jump to the AHL quite a bit easier - not because he's tall, but because he's filled out a little more then other kids his age, which generally translates to better stability with the puck.

It seems as though the biggest problem every Flames prospect has is the ability to move around the ice at a rate projectable to the pro level, and that also goes for Ferland. He gets around pretty well for a guy who had exactly 0 power skating lessons before the age of 14, though.

More visibly, though, the “fact” that he’s a late bloomer is probably going to dog him for a while - regardless if that criticism a. is actually accurate or b. demonstrates a real detriment to his developmental curve. Lastly, one must be concerned about “coat tail” syndrome. Stone was one of, if not the, best players in the CHL this year. It may not be coincidence that Ferland’s breakout season came with Stone on his line.

Saying that, I’m inclined to give Ferland quite a bit more slack then I would a guy like Greg Nemisz, both for the grotesque numbers he put up this year as well as the PPG 18-year-old season he compiled playing on a different line then Stone.

Ferland should be joining the Abbotsford Heat this season, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of impact he has.

The List 

            RANKS                
Player   Kent   Justin   WI   Scott   VF   Arik (NC)   Final Rank
Michael Ferland   8   7   7   7   6   11   7
Lance Bouma   10   9   5   14   4   12   8
Markus Granlund   7   6   0   10   13   8   9
Bill Arnold   11   11   0   11   8   5   10
Greg Nemisz   9   13   0   5   15   15   11
Paul Byron   12   10   0   12   11   9   12
John Ramage   14   12   0   0   12   10   13
Chris Breen   0   15   0   13   0   14   14
Tyler Wotherspoon   0   14   0   0   10   0   15 

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Justin is a 22-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
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#1 Austin
June 07 2012, 04:40PM
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Ferland's upper-end projections? A good top 9?

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#3 MangoTanker
June 07 2012, 05:26PM
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Flames have apparently let go of Craig Hartsburg.

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#4 Kent Wilson
June 07 2012, 05:53PM
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@MangoTanker

Yup. Not too surprising after hiring the new guy the other day.

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#5 RKD
June 07 2012, 06:03PM
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Heard the Flames released Craig Hartsburg. Not surprised.

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#6 Austin
June 07 2012, 07:19PM
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Now that Sutter is gone, will Stajan get increased playing time? Highly doubtful but an interesting question. It sort of seemed like Stajan was in Sutter's doghouse. I don't like Stajan at all, it's just that I'm concerned that if Stajan gets more minutes, it will cut into Backlund and Cervenka's ice time.

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#7 JayD54
June 07 2012, 07:20PM
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I enjoyed watching Michael Ferland with Brandon the past two seasons.

His offensive numbers are what has caught people's attention, but I thought in the two games that I saw him at the 'Dome against the Hitmen (1 in the playoffs), his play without the puck and in his own end was pretty good. He positioned himself well and made some decent plays in his own end.

Maybe he does have the potential to break out from that top 9 ranking to a reliable second liner. I like his potential to do so given his continual improvement outside his playing alongside a centre like Stone with skills that were evident from the get go.

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#8 Franko J
June 07 2012, 09:02PM
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With Troy Ward's guidance and coaching Ferland will develop further. I can see him playing alongside Reinhart in Abbotsford next season. He reminds me of a player like Clowe in SJ.

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#9 everton fc
June 07 2012, 10:14PM
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I still think Ferland's going to produce in the NHL. I like the comparison to Clowe. And Ward is the perfect person to develop him.

Here's hoping the Flames were watching Eric Roy on Brandon's backend. He's a big kid with a good attitude. I hope he lands here someday.

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#10 Ryan Pike
June 07 2012, 11:57PM
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I had the chance to chat with Michael Ferland at the Team Canada selection camp last winter.

He wouldn't shut up about how excited he was [a] to be playing with Mark Stone, [b] that his team was doing well, [c] that he was part of the Flames organization. He barely spoke about himself and spoke about how much he was looking forward to turning pro.

Of the Flames junior players, he's probably the one whose style of play is most readily convertible to the pros. He's a wrecking ball, at his best. It probably limits him to bottom-six minutes, but he could be a very useful player in the bottom-six.

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#11 Arik
June 08 2012, 04:35AM
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Huh, I forgot I ranked him at 11. Not sure how much I'd change that, but it seems lower than I feel about him. Anyways, I think he'll be a fine 15 minute a night guy at some point, but it's unlikely he'll be an NHL scorer.

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#12 SmellOfVictory
June 08 2012, 10:40AM
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Awesome to hear, Ryan. However he gets in, I just hope he becomes a full-time NHLer. After reading his backstory in The Herald a few months ago, it's impossible not to pull for the kid.

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#13 the-wolf
June 08 2012, 12:24PM
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I suppose his ceiling might be Glencross, but hopefully a more consistent one. If he does reach that potential though, I would think it wouldn't be until he hits 26, 27 years old. Of course, Im' getting a little ahead of myself here.

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