It’s hard not to love Micheal Ferland. Well, besides Canucks fans who seemingly believe he is the worst human ever to fans/players of the opposition night in and night out assuming he may murder someone. But he’s nearly universally beloved by Flames fans.
He’s the type of modern NHL player that gets admiration from traditionalists, from stats oriented fans/analysts, and from his teammates. All of this is warranted and against numerous odds he’s become an NHL regular: a feat in itself that should get more attention.
But seeing him played in a situation that plays to his underlying impacts rarely happens. What’s up with that?
Maybe it’s parity, maybe at the end of the day Glen Gulutzan knows that he needs Ferland in limited minutes because there is a dire need from the third/fourth line to try to run at the same pace as other lines against the comparable competition. It makes sense on paper obviously and it’s an easy assumption to fall back on.
Stop playing Ferland as a 4th liner. He’s capable of so, so much more
— Psych Vernon (@bookofloob) November 29, 2016
The reality being that it is stifling – to varying degrees – what Ferland is capable of doing: shooting the puck and finding a way to drive play, even if he suffered from bad luck last season. This is where it gets confusing and it speaks volumes that he hasn’t been provided an opportunity – which he’s rightfully earned – to be provided more minutes.
For a team that has struggled mightily on generating goals this year maybe it’s a possibility for Gulutzan to explore. There’s enough evidence to suggest it might not be a bad idea and what do you have to lose at this point? If he succeeds, he does what some expected. If he doesn’t, he’s still a functional NHLer who does provide a noticeable impact (with the eye test and statistically) when on the ice.
So, what do you do, and how would you play Micheal Ferland moving forward? Should he be on the left wing with Sam Bennett? Should he be up there with Sean Monahan? Would you be comfortable moving Matthew Tkachuk off the Mikael Backlund/Michael Frolik line to reform the all-Michael line?
Sound off in the comments.