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Micheal Ferland needs to replace Troy Brouwer on the powerplay

Troy Brouwer’s first season in Calgary has not played out as management hoped. With a mere 25 points in 74 games in the regular season – tied for 11th in team scoring – he hasn’t come close to the 40-point range he’d consistently hit the past three seasons, and that’s while being fed beneficial zone starts and quality linemates.

Oh – and powerplay time. Lots and lots of powerplay time.

While we’re at it, that guy he’s tied in points with? That’d be Micheal Ferland – who has 25 points in 76 games. Two more contests, same number of points: only with less time, slightly less beneficial zone starts and significantly lower quality linemates until he was finally placed on a line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.

Oh – and barely any powerplay time. Not much of that at all.

So that’s our focus right now: a regular season comparison between Brouwer, the supposedly stalwart veteran with the big contract, and Ferland, the kid still figuring out where he fits in the lineup who’s due for a raise.

At the end of Game 1, Ferland barely played in the final nine minutes: a crucial time during which the Flames, down by a goal, were trying to tie the game. The issue isn’t that Ferland was held off the ice at the end of the game, the issue is why. During that time, the Flames had to kill Dougie Hamilton’s third penalty of the night, and then they had two overlapping powerplays of their own – and three stray penalty killing seconds aside, Ferland didn’t get any special teams time.

Brouwer had long been a staple of the man advantage’s first unit throughout the regular season, to underwhelming results; Ferland had seemed to replace him after the Flames had clinched a playoff spot, but evidently, that replacement hasn’t stuck.

Just how bad is this? To compare, here’s a side-by-side glimpse of Brouwer and Ferland’s experiences on the powerplay through the 2016-17 regular season, minding that Brouwer played 178:45 on the man advantage, while Ferland hit just 35:27. I’ve included Sean Monahan’s numbers for context as well: he led the Flames in powerplay ice time with 247:59 played.

Troy Brouwer vs. Micheal Ferland vs. Sean Monahan powerplay stats during the 2016-17 regular season.

Because Ferland has played so little on the man advantage, sample size may be skewing some of his numbers here. For example: he has almost as many points per time on ice as Brouwer had shots, which looks horrific – until you bring Monahan’s numbers into the fold, and realize that scoring at the clip Ferland did isn’t too likely to last over extended powerplay time.

Individual shots, though? Brouwer’s point production may come close to Monahan’s, but the amount he actually creates on the man advantage is seriously lacking. Some of that may come from being designated the net-front presence – and that’s a fair excuse – but fact is, it’s really difficult to see just what, exactly, he’s adding to the powerplay, both from the eye test and from the numbers. (It’s also entirely possible Monahan’s own numbers have suffered due to playing with Brouwer; Monahan is clearly the more productive player, no matter what the strength of play.)

And quite simply, Ferland looks like he has much more to show. At the very minimum, he has more potential. And the Flames are wasting it. We’ll never know if the numbers he put up over limited ice time are for real or not if the Flames refuse to put it to the test.

This is just yet another case of the team refusing to try a younger player over an established veteran. It’s been going on all season, from Brett Kulak only appearing in a quarter of the games, to Hunter Shinkaruk’s contributions being limited to the fourth line, to waiting until the last possible moment to finally give Rasmus Andersson his NHL debut.

Only this time, it’s more meaningful: because this time, we’re talking about an established NHLer who is already playing on what many would call the first line. And he’s not being given the opportunity that would be in the team’s best interests, and it’s costing them in the playoffs.

  • RKD

    Why Gulutzan put Brouwer out on a 6 on 5 is beyond me the guy was invisible last night. What happened to all his pedigree? Just took a big fat contract and basically floats out there, he doesn’t even engage which is disturbing too. What’s wrong with him? He’s doing nothing.

  • The GREAT WW

    Ferland to replace Brouwer on the PP?
    FN has been saying that for 6 months….either GG is REALLY slow on the uptake….or BT does not want to inflate Ferland’s next contract…..either way; Brouwer sucks, expose him in the expansion draft!

    WW

  • FuNky ANGER

    “This is just yet another case of the team refusing to try a younger player over an established veteran.”

    This has been my problem with the Flames management for awhile now. We never give our prospects a chance to suceed at the NHL level because we always decide to go with an “experienced veteran”. Just look to Paul Byron and I guess to some extent Sven Baertschi. If your rebuilding a team you need to commit and play your prospects and allow them to develop. Once your team is a contender … THEN you can fill any gaps with the “seasoned veteran”

    • Torchy

      I’d argue that the Flames are doing a much better job of integrating young players into the lineup than you give them credit for.

      Despite their stated preference to let prospects mature in junior or the AHL…year after year a guy like Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, Ferland, or Tkachuk leaves the team no choice but to keep them on the team.

      These kids have plenty of opportunities in practice and developmental games to make a case for themselves. Some kick the damn door in and demand a job, and some need more time.

      The “play everyone” approach you’re recommending is very risky. Look no further than the examples set by Edmonton (3 consecutive 1st overall picks, still failed) or Colorado (incredible young talent, pitiful team performance for several years now).

      As a Flames fan, why should I shed a tear because mean old Derek Engelland takes up a roster spot that Wotherspoon might have filled?

  • Burning Ring of Fire

    Also, Stockton wouldn’t want Brouwer so I’m not sure why any NHL team would. He’s the only one in this equation without a pucker butt. Sad really, especially since he’s a Calgary boy. Kudos to him I guess for pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. Not sure I would want to make this city my post career residence though based on my effort and results thus far. And to think some people give their heart and soul for minimum wage.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    GG seems to take awhile to get it right. He does eventually figure it out but he is so process driven and lacks the ability to change on the fly. The Flames have to be real careful to not impede the development of players with this God complex.

    • FuNky ANGER

      I feel Brouwer’s contract and salary slighlty forces the coaches to exhaust all options before moving on. You have to think of it from their end. If they cant get Brouwer going then you have him for 3 more years at 4.5 million a season. Alot of cash for someone to ride pine and contribute squat. If you cant get him going then you for sure won’t be able to trade him unless you can take another crap contract on. I beleive if Brouwer had only this season left or 1 year left then Ferland would slot in over him in all situations.

    • class1div1

      Process has the ability to adopt or change status on the fly. He’s not a process guy .He’s a system guy.He sticks with his system regardless of output. He works on percentages

  • Ferland looked fantastic. Looking like a real power forward. ANYONE has to be better than Bartowski. Every time he is on the ice I cringe. He just gives the puck away every chance he gets. Way too much ice time for that 3rd pairing with 14-16 minutes. Yeesh!
    Elliot was real good. Gibson was also good and made some very timely saves. Besides a couple bad penalties and a real bad change they did great. This is a fun series already.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Stockton heat clinch a playoff spot beating the baby Oilers 2-1 on an empty net goal (Bakersfield needed to win in regulation). Congrats boys. The AHL announced its awards and O’Reagan won Rookie of the year despite the fact that The season is not over and Janko is one point behind. Fantastic season for Janko who has out grown the AHL.

  • Lucky 13

    Even though we lost the game, I’m happy about a few things the Flames did.
    #1 I thoroughly enjoyed watching Backlund cross- checking the hell out of Kessler with 9 seconds left. I betcha Kessler is going to need some realignment after Backlund chopped him like Paul Bunyan.

    #2 Ferland has a new gear for postseason. I loved his game. Wish all would play with that kind of tenacity…. hint hint Brouwer

    #3 Elliott is a gamer. I know we’re not going to lose due to his performance.

    Oh one more thing
    If you rearrange Troy Brouwer’s name it comes out as
    ” Be Worry Tour”