2014-15 By The Numbers: #79 Micheal Ferland

Micheal Ferland had a roller-coaster season.

He made his long-awaited NHL debut on October 31 – his expected call-up last season was postponed by a knee injury – only to get immediately sidelined with a suspected concussion for eight games. Then he played nine games, nearly scoring several times, before being returned to the AHL. He returned to the NHL in February and gradually figured things out as he bounced in and out of the line-up.

And then? He had a playoff run that probably cemented his roster spot for next season. He played 26 regular season games and 9 in the playoffs, and he got better as the season wore on.

Ferland didn’t play 100 even-strength minutes with any one player – he only played 259 5-on-5 minutes all season – so here’s his five most frequent line-mates.

Player Together Apart Diff.
Granlund 44.8% 40.3% +4.5%
Engelland 36.6% 40.9% -4.3%
Stajan 49.0% 43.9% +5.1%
Brodie 47.0% 45.3% +1.7%
Wideman 36.8% 43.2% -6.4%

We have some mixed results here for Ferland in his first season dipping his toe in the NHL pond. First of all, that’s fully expected given his general lack of pro experience. But it’s also likely a product of linemates and circumstances. Prior to his playoff performances, primarily playing with Matt Stajan and David Jones, he typically spent a good chunk in a depth role.

In the playoffs, he was used as a physical shutdown presence. In the regular season, he was sheltered and attempted to find his footing at the NHL level. Heck, he scored as many goals (2) and points (4) in 9 playoff games as he did in 26 regular season games. His possession stats weren’t great, but considering his role, his production, and the fact that he was integral to Calgary’s playoff success, this is a case where you can go, “Well, of course they weren’t good numbers!

Nothing about Micheal Ferland in 2014-15 – his level of experience, his playing style, his physicality – suggests that he should have had strong possession numbers in the first place. However, if he can learn to use that physicality intelligently and separate his opponents from the puck earlier in his shifts, perhaps his possession numbers will improve in short order.

It’s likely that Ferland will begin the 2015-16 season in the NHL. He’s young and cheap. He will require waivers to go down to the AHL, and he definitely won’t clear. He fits Flames management’s “big, physical and talented” mantra, as he’s demonstrably two of those three things – and the jury is out on the third one. He’ll be just 23 years old when the season begins, and his first full professional season was quite good.

If Ferland can bring the same compete level to the regular season as he did to the playoffs, he could be a very valuable full-time addition to the Calgary Flames.

2014-15 BY THE NUMBERS

#1 Jonas Hiller #19 David Jones
#3 David Schlemko #21 Mason Raymond
#4 Kris Russell #23 Sean Monahan
#5 Mark Giordano #24 Jiri Hudler
#6 Dennis Wideman #25 Brandon Bollig
#7 T.J. Brodie #29 Deryk Engelland
#8 Joe Colborne #31 Karri Ramo
#11 Mikael Backlund #32 Paul Byron
#13 Johnny Gaudreau #33 Raphael Diaz
#15 Ladislav Smid #60 Markus Granlund
#17 Lance Bouma #79 Micheal Ferland
#18 Matt Stajan #86 Josh Jooris
Everybody Else
  • MattyFranchise

    Ferland has the talent and the work ethic to be a difference maker. All he needs is a bit more experience to prove it. To me, he fits the mold of the bottom line player that every team needs to be successful. As Kent likes to say, Ferland has ‘functional toughness.’

    • SmellOfVictory

      He’s unique in a lot of ways. Started hockey really late, faced quite a bit of missed time due to injury, had substance abuse concerns, etc. As a result I really do think he’s got a better chance to jump forward in development at this age than a lot of guys do; the amount of adversity he’s had to overcome also makes him very easy to cheer for.

    • Byron Bader

      Agreed. Coupled with the fact that he didn’t start to play organized hockey until he was a teenager whereas most NHL players would have played organized hockey from 4-6 years on is hugely impressive. This guy takes massive leaps every year. I suspect by 26-27 he’ll be a really, really good player.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I think Ferland has already shown that he can be the equal of Zach Kassian, who I think is probably his closest comparable.

    I think both players still have upside too, but I’m excited to see where Ferland goes from here (whereas I hope Kassian ends up in the ECHL, because the Canucks are a disgrace to hockey).

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The Fames have been missing a forward of Ferland’s ilk for a few years now. Opposing players are looking over their shoulder and need to be constantly aware of Ferland’s presence. He is fast for big guy and can provide a physical brand of hockey, but I’m hopeful he turns into a player that will punish opponents on the scoreboard as well. Nothing is more maddening than watching a guy in your grill score on you. Perfect bottom 6 forward!

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The FAN reporting that Petry just signed for $5.5 m for 6 years, that has just reduced the chances of the Flames upgrading their 3/4 spot on the back end at a reasonable cost. Now we need to look for a good trade or be patient.

    • Franko J

      Horrible contract for an average 2nd pairing Dman, $5.5M for SIX fricken years…they’re gonna be regretting that one after a few years.

      Makes the Brodie deal (and Treliving) look even more genius

      • Franko J

        Absolutely agree with you however it has driven up the cost of other FA’s and I suspect Gio’s contract as well. Here’s hoping that 2 or more of Spoon, Morrison, Culkin, Kulak and the Czech(I can’t remember his name) work out soon.

  • Franko J

    Just think he could have been in Arizona and playing for Coyotes, instead Feaster was wise enough to know that Ferland’s upside and potential was far too valuable. As Hartley said in one interview on the Fan 960 he basically pointed out because of Ferland’s unique skill set that they had to find room on the roster for him. Hopefully Ferland can build upon his playoff performance next season.

  • I agree with all the comments that Ferland is potentially going to be a great hockey player. He has the work ethic, skill, size to take his career to new levels.

    My greatest hope for this kid is that he is able to keep it all together within himself and ensure that he is given the support of good people around him…

  • Anyone else a little worried about 2 concussions this year? You can’t get your bell rung too many times without some permanent damage. His style may lead to a short career.

    Hope not as I enjoyed his tenacity and the way certain players seem to dislike playing against him.

      • Maybe I was assuming though I thought I read it somewhere. It really looked like to me he was out of it when they replayed Jones inadvertently putting a shoulder into him. His balance seemed off on the next shifts and then he was gone.

        • Avalain

          It looked like a concussion to me, too. But the post-playoff report said his injury was something else (I forget what). Hopefully. I’m also worried about concussions with him.

          • Avalain

            Strained/ partially torn oblique was what he was trying to play through. He said the pain would just shoot through him and he was trying to compensate which through him off balance at times