Micheal Ferland returns to Flames lineup tonight

The Flames are getting a boost to their lineup tonight. A physical, truculent boost that only has one assist (and 24 hits) through seven games thus far this season, but a boost, nonetheless.

Micheal Ferland has missed the Flames’ last eight games with a sprained MCL. He sustained the injury during the second period of the Oct. 23 game against the Red Wings, in which an attempted hit on the penalty kill went wrong, and Ferland took himself out instead.

Things have gone well in his recovery, though – so well that he’ll be back in the lineup tonight.

The lines are pretty much the same from the 5-2 win over the Penguins – and considering how well that game was played, they absolutely should be – with the difference of Ferland. He’ll be taking Mason Raymond’s spot. Raymond played a team-low 5:48, so his being a healthy scratch doesn’t come as a surprise.

Ferland is expected to play with centre Derek Grant and right winger Josh Jooris. Grant and Jooris played 7:22 and 8:36 last game, respectively, so it looks like a fourth line return for Ferland.

Really, it makes sense: Ferland hasn’t played in a while, and he’s returning on the road. He also isn’t T.J. Brodie who, in his return, was a team leader in ice time; he’s a 23-year-old who has yet to truly establish himself as an effective NHLer, although the returns to look promising so far.

Brandon Bollig will be a healthy scratch for the second game in a row. Considering the physical element Ferland adds to the lineup, plus the fact that he’s younger and has more potential, Bollig’s game is redundant until proven otherwise.

Ultimately, replacing Raymond, a player who has lost the faith of his coach, with Ferland, someone who still seems to have it, is a net positive. We’ll see how it pays off tonight.