Recently named the Flames 7th best prospect by FN, I figured it was time to share the details of Michael Ferland’s break-out season with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
When the Flames picked Ferland in the 5th round back in 2010, they were doing what they had done a lot under Sutter – chose a WHL born and bred kid who knew how to play the game the tough, prairie boy way. There didn’t seem to be much more to the selection at the time – Ferland had almost four times as many penalty minutes as points for Brandon that season.
Over the next two seasons, however, Ferland has become more than merely a long-shot tough guy to a prospect who has a legitimate shot at becoming a major leaguer. In 2010-11 he managed 23 goals and 56 points in 56 games and then followed that up with his 96-point outburst this year. That is a nice, steep progression for the Brandon Manitoba native and while it’s unlikely he will become a notable scorer in the NHL, it means he has a few more skills than just a willingness to drop the gloves.
- Total points: 96
- Points-per-game: 1.41
- Powerplay points: 39
- Even strength points: 54
- Total team offense: 260
- ES%: 56.3%
- PP%: 40.6%
- TEAM%: 36.9%
- NHLE: 34.7
In this instance, parsing out Ferland’s points give us a clearer picture of the player and how he was able to take such a big step forward – he was more reliant on the PP for scoring than either Reinhart and Baertschi and scored a lower percentage of his team’s total offense than either of those guys as well (even though he managed almost 20 more points than Reinhart).
As mentioned in our previous article on him last week, Ferland spent the season with WHL leading point-getter Mark Stone and clearly those two were given a lot offensive ice time. As a result, Ferland’s numbers are probably somewhat misleading. Which isn’t to say his offensive contributions should be discounted completely, just that anyone expecting Ferland to carry on an equivalent output into pro is likely to be disappointed.
Michael is a guy I remember from the Flames last prospect tournament. His skating and hockey IQ stood out in a good way, which was surprising at the time given how limited his upside seemed. Corey Pronman seemed to agree with me:
Whenever I reach out to WHL scouts, Ferland is the type of prospect who they come at me with "fourth-liner at best". However, whenever I’ve seen him in the WHL, or in this instance at the rookie camps, he shows flashes of something beyond that in terms of skills and sense that make me think that while he may not be a top-six player, there’s certainly something to this player beyond just intangibles.
Taken together, the picture one gets of Ferland is a third liner whose upside is somewhere between Lance Bouma and Max Reinhart. If he can maintain some measure of his offensive acumen while continuing to do the things that got him drafted in the first place, Ferland may become a useful bottom-end guy for Calgary down the road.