RFA Profiles: Josh Jooris, Micheal Ferland, and Drew Shore

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Mikael Backlund, Lance Bouma, and Paul Byron are the highest profile restricted free agents for the Calgary Flames this summer. Those aren’t the only RFA contracts the Flames have to concern themselves with, however. In Josh Jooris, Micheal Ferland and Drew Shore, Calgary has three players who were new on the scene this past season. Are we talking about slam dunk deals for this trio? And if so, how similar will their deals look?

The interesting thing about this threesome is how all three joined the organization. Jooris was a free agent signing out of college, Shore was a mid-season acquisition, and Ferland was a 2010 fifth round draft pick. All of them made some sort of an impact in their first years with the Flames, although their impacts were felt to varying degrees. In the end, though, none of them have likely done enough to earn anything long term. So what will these contracts look like when they inevitably get signed?

Josh Jooris

2014-2015 stats: 60 GP, 12 G, 12 A, 24 PTS, 16 PIM, +1

Jooris was one of the most positive stories for the Flames this past season, and for me, he stands out the most of this trio. For a guy who was slated to play only one preseason game, Jooris showed he could compete as an NHL regular and actually ended up being one of Calgary’s most consistenly effective forwards.

With a Corsi for rating of 47.00%, Jooris ended up being Calgary’s best possession forward and trailed only Mark Giordano in that same category among Flames regulars. Part of that number was helped along by a 51.2% offensive zone start (fourth highest on the team), and the fact he wasn’t usually matched up against top end opposition. That doesn’t take away from his effectiveness, however, because he really was a useful player this past season. That’s backed up by him being the team’s top possession forward in the postseason at 52.67%.

What I really like about Jooris is how simple and smart his game is. He’s not blessed with incredible attributes in any individual area, but what he does possess is a very solid understanding of the game at the highest level. You can see it almost every time he’s on the ice. Jooris makes things happen by making smart chips in his own end, and by playing a straightforward game offensively. He works a good cycle and you can count on him to spend a good amount of time at the right end of the ice.

Because of those things, Jooris’s offensive numbers this year were a bonus. Should we be expecting 12 goals plus from him every year? It’s a good benchmark to set, but he’ll probably need to take a few more shots to see that offensive trend continue. Jooris shot 13.5% on 89 shots this past season, so it will likely be big for him to fire the puck a little more to go along with his time in the offensive end.

Verdict: There would be absolutely no reason not to sign Jooris to another contract. He had a really nice rookie NHL season and looks like someone who can play at the highest level on a consistent basis. I really like him, so I’d be fine with a two year deal, but the team still has the leverage so a one year deal is probably where this ends up. He is an effective even strength play, can kill penalties (1:07 average shorthanded ice time per game), and has a decent offensive flair. Not bad for an undrafted college free agent.

Micheal Ferland

2014-2015 stats: 26 GP, 3 G, 2 A, 5 PTS, 16 PIM, +1

No Flames player made a more unexpected name for himself during the 2015 postseason than Ferland. Whether it was Kevin Bieksa pretending not to know how to say his name, or plastering Luca Sbisa to the boards, the Vancouver Canucks certainly won’t forget about the 2010 fifth round pick. Ferland wasn’t able to make as much of an impact against the Ducks, due to injury and the nature of the opposition, but he certainly endeared himself to Calgary fans in April and May of this year. So now what?

My biggest question about Ferland is if he can do what he did in the playoffs over an 82 game season. To play with the pace and physicality that he did when he was making an impact cannot be an easy thing to do on a regular basis. If the answer to the question is yes, however, then the Flames have got a pretty interesting player on their hands.

Plain and simple, Ferland makes an impact when he plays the way he did for the majority of the postseason. He had Vancouver hearing footsteps for the entire series and he was able to add a little playoff offence as well. Ferland finished with three goals and five points in nine playoff games and held his own on a relatively effective line with Matt Stajan and David Jones.

Sure, there are areas of Ferland’s all round game that will need refining, but that’s to be expected of a guy with 35 games of NHL experience under his belt. He’s come a long way since his draft year and continues to have a nice ceiling for what he could accomplish. Whether he blossoms into a full fledged power forward or ends up filling a role as a physical bottom sixer remains to be seen. The fact that first option exists makes keeping him around for a while longer quite tantalizing, however.

Verdict: Much like Jooris, this one is easy. Of course you re-sign Ferland, and once again, because the team has the leverage, this can be a one year deal. Ferland has some nice offensive tools, specifically his shot and his hands in tight and down low. We know he can make an impact by throwing his body around, and I for one am quite hopeful he continues progressing.

Drew Shore

2014-2015 stats: 11 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 PTS, 0 PIM, -5

This one is a little more interesting. Shore was acquired by the Flames in January from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Corban Knight. At the NHL level, you and I only had a small window of which to form an opinion on Shore. From what I’ve seen, I’m certainly sufficiently interested to see him some more next year.

At the age of 24, Shore was an AHL All Star, putting up 37 points in 47 games split between the San Antonio Rampage and the Adirondack Flames. He’s been a pro since 2012, so his development curve is a little different as opposed to a guy like, say, Jooris or even Ferland. Those two project to have a good shot at being full time NHLer’s next season. For Shore to do that, it might be a little more difficult.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Even if Shore’s ultimate upside in the organization is being a tweener who spends time in the American League between NHL recalls, there still is value there. Because NHL upside does exist, signing him to another one year contract to see what a full year in the organization brings is only prudent.

Shore has shown he can be a versatile player, as he’s a natural centre but has no problem playing the wing. Knowing Calgary’s lack of depth on the wing, specifically on the right side, that versatility might help him stick with the organization for a little while. He’s put up decent totals at the AHL level as a player in his early 20’s, so I still think there is some all right offensive upside there as well.

Verdict: It just makes sense to sign Shore to another deal. Again, we’re likely talking about a one year deal, which is just fine. Remember, the organization only got to see him play in 23 games (11 in Calgary and 12 in Adirondack). It would be rather silly to acquire a player, play him for a third of a season, and then let him walk. Sign him to a one year deal and if it doesn’t work, then you can think about potentially cutting bait next summer when Shore is 25.

  • piscera.infada

    I might go two years for all three players, especially Jooris and Ferland. At this point I think they’re solidly on the team and that would reflect their hard work and success, without too long a term.

  • piscera.infada

    Shore’s biggest asset has got to be that he is a righty. Without that he’s just another piece that fits in the bottom nine.

    The Flames need to think long and hard about some of their roster players and who they can move. I just don’t think there are going to be enough chairs for everyone when the music stops.

    • piscera.infada

      Agree on both fronts.

      If the Flames sign every forward that would make it 16. Maybe Granlund would go down to the farm , but there is still 15. ( maybe a trade needs to happen too?? )

      Wow, nice problem to have this summer : “too many goalies, extra D coming in, and many forwards”

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      I could see us trading Mason Raymond to a cap floor team like Buffalo or Arizona.

      We might have seen the last of Bollig too, as Ferland has made him expendable IMO.

      I hope we re-sign Byron, but would be OK with him being moved as a secondary piece to a bigger deal to land a defenseman.

      As much as I like Jones, I could see him being moved at some point this year as well, but probably not until the deadline and it would depend on how well other prospects have stepped up and where we sit in the standings.

      I would like to move Colborne but kind of doubt it would happen as I think the org likes him a lot.

      • Greg

        I would like to think Bollig is expendable too but I doubt it will work out that way.

        Unless he has an outstanding training camp, I think they could send Raymond down to Stockton, if they can’t trade him, as it is unlikely anyone will pick him up on waivers. There shouldn’t be a cap floor issue by then because of who has to be re-signed and the price points involved.

        I don’t think Jones will be moved because he is one of the few right handed forwards and when he isn’t hurt he can be effective. Let’s face it, it’s mostly his salary that makes us all cringe.

        I would rather see Colborne moved than Byron but I am resigned to being disappointed on that score because of, you know, #bigbody.

    • Agree completely on both fronts. They need to be very careful who’s getting contracts.

      However, for Shore specifically, they traded for him and a one year deal doesn’t hamper you significantly.

      Next year they’ll be in a spot to make a decision on his long term fit with the org.

      • I think you’re talking about Shore, in which case I agree. Both partial seasons he spent in Florida he was a decent possession player with tailored minutes. I think there’s some nice upside with Shore and there’s no reason to not bring him back.

  • Greg

    The thing with Shore is, as you mentioned, he’s not quite established himself as an NHLer, but he’s also waiver eligible now so you can’t use him as a tweener without exposing him on waivers anytime he’s sent down. BT said they were getting calls about him right after they acquired him, so I doubt he’d clear. The flames might not have room on the NHL roster for him yet, but some other team might and would jump at the chance to add a 24 year old with upside to their roster if they’ve got a sheltered spot to try him out in.

    I think the flames either need to make some trades to clear a spot he can fight for, or move him for a low pick, or they’ll risk losing him for nothing.

    Or perhaps they give him a poison pill contract to make his waiver claim less appetizing. Perhaps a 1 year, $1.5M deal? He hasn’t earned that yet, but they’ve got the cap space to do that for 1 year to buy time to see what he does this year, while discouraging teams from taking him because you can’t bury all of that in the minors if he doesn’t earn a spot.

    I think then you’d have to do a 2 year deal to the other RFAs to offset the bigger $ he gets.