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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

What will Micheal Ferland’s next contract look like?

If you’re not instantly NHL-ready, chances are your entry-level contract will be a wash. Micheal Ferland was not instantly NHL-ready.

He did, however, close out his ELC with a bang, getting so under the Vancouver Canucks’ skin in the first round 2015 playoff series that he ended up being a key part of the Flames’ win, and establishing himself as a surefire NHLer seemingly through that series alone.

But he had to prove he was more than a one round wonder, and so, he was re-signed to a relatively cheap deal: two years, $825k per.

That deal is now up. Ferland, with two full seasons of work – not to mention the 43 points scored over them – needs a new contract. And one of the biggest questions is whether he should get another show me deal, or if it’s time to invest in some term.

The Lance Bouma deal

There are some comparables one can draw between Ferland and Lance Bouma. They’re both big, they’re both physical, neither is exactly a typical scorer. They are, in a word, depth players, but those really fun kinds everyone loves to have.

… Or at least, that’s what Bouma appeared to be. After a fluke 34-point season – the very one that saw him go to arbitration and end up with a three-year, $2.2 million deal before a verdict could be handed down – Bouma immediately went belly up. Some of that was due to injuries, some of that was due to no longer having Mikael Backlund piggyback him around the ice, some of that was due to his abnormal 15.4% shooting percentage come crashing down. It was a bad deal the moment it was signed, but it was signed all the same, and perhaps set a standard.

There are a couple of key differences between Bouma and Ferland, though. Like Bouma, Ferland had a shooting percentage this past season he may not be able to replicate; however, it wasn’t as exaggerated as Bouma’s was. Like Bouma, Ferland got to share the ice with some players above his talent level; unlike Bouma, he actually looked like he belonged with them. And unlike Bouma, he’s never gotten a real shot at ice time: Bouma averaged 14:01 in his contract season, while Ferland’s career high is 12:37 from 2015-16.

Ferland is who the Flames wished Bouma was when they signed him to that $6.6 million contract. So… maybe Ferland should get the deal he got?

Like Bouma, Ferland will be 25 when his next deal starts. Also like Bouma, he’ll be eligible for arbitration. Unlike Bouma, though, he might just live up to that deal.

The Curtis Glencross deal

I’m not sure why Curtis Glencross has popped up in my head as of late – just that he has, and I wonder if his last NHL contract could be a basis for Ferland’s next.

Say the Flames want to sign Ferland to a four-year deal. That takes up some of Ferland’s UFA years, which drives the price up; however, we are talking about a kid who was justifiably making under $1 million this past season, so it can’t go up too high. Then again, that’s the risk with longer-term deals – you hope the player is going to be worth more than his contract before his contract expires.

That was part of the logic with Glencross. Coming off of a 43-point season in 2010-11, Glencross – who had carried a $1.2 million cap hit the three previous seasons – was due for a raise. He’d scored 20 goals and looked to be on the verge of 30, and at 29 years of age, this was probably his best shot for a big deal. He opted for what looked like a hometown discount – complete with no movement clause – that saw him average $2.55 million over four years.

Here’s the question: could that be a comparable for Ferland?

Ferland’s career high in points is 25, but then, he’s only two full seasons into his career. Glencross nearly broke 50 points the first year into his deal, but then fell off due to shortened seasons and injuries; however, his point-per-game average was still over .60 the next two seasons, which is higher than Ferland has ever reached.

On the other hand, Ferland is younger, noted for his physicality, and has plenty of potential to grow into a scoring role. Imagine if he does become Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan’s regular linemate – and at a $2.55 million cap hit? You take that every day.

The downside would be Ferland playing on, like, the third line (that’s a lie – the real downside would be the coaching staff continuing to underestimate him yet again for no apparent reason, but maybe a raise puts a stop to that). A $2.55 million cap hit for an effective third liner is hardly disastrous.

Who else scored at Ferland’s level?

Ferland’s season was fractured between first and fourth line circumstances, but ultimately, a season is the sum of its parts, good and bad. Ferland averaged .33 points per game this past season, as did:

  • Justin Abdelkader (30 years old, $4.25 million cap hit)
  • Joel Armia (24 years old, $925,000 cap hit on his second contract)
  • Brian Boyle (32 years old, expiring $2 million cap hit)
  • Alexander Burmistrov (25 years old, expiring $1.55 million cap hit)
  • Melker Karlsson (26 years old, expired $1.65 million cap hit, re-signed to three-year, $2 million per deal)
  • Scott Wilson (25 years old, $625,000 cap hit on his second contract)

Other players who scored at roughly the same rate and are about Ferland’s age include Mikkel Boedker, Zach Hyman, Tanner Kero, Jordan Martinook, and Jimmy Vesey. Boedker ($4 million cap hit) and Vesey ($3.775 million cap hit) were signed as free agents, so their price was higher, while Kero has already been re-signed to a cheap two-year, $750,000 deal.

Hyman and Martinook, however, could be guys to keep an eye on as potential contract comparables: all three are ’92 birthdays who are just beginning to establish themselves in the NHL (Ferland has the most games played but the lowest points per game, but just barely) looking for new deals this offseason.

So where does that leave Ferland’s new deal? I’d ballpark it anywhere from two-four years, with a cap hit around $2 million or so, depending on the Flames’ levels of faith and commitment (Karlsson is a pretty decent comparable, and over his career to date he’s scored more).

Ferland is an exciting player, but he still has to prove himself beyond a couple of flashes in one 2015 playoff round and the final quarter of the 2016-17 season. That said, he’s also very much earned his impending raise.

      • HOCKEY83

        no way have we’ve seen Ferland’s ceiling. He’s just starting to develop into the player he was in junior. he had a mis-tep in his development with partying to much but he’s back on track. All players develop at different rates. Look at Bennett. He has shown nothing but regression since coming into the league but he will get the big dollar come July 1st. 4.5 mil for at least 3 years and he does not deserve it. Ferland will get a couple mil or just under for a couple of years.

  • Puckhead

    I think Ari is in the right ballpark – around $2M per (maybe $2.5M if he stays on the first line). If he gets bumped down to the 3rd line it’s hard to justify paying him more.

    Also give him about a 3 year contract to reduce long-term risk and make him earn his next contract.

    • Hubcap1

      What if he only spends half a season on the first line then the next 2 and a half on the 3rd or 4th. You can’t go back and say now we’re going to only pay you 1.5-2m/season. If you sign him to 2.5m+ you’re getting into trouble, unless he exceeds expectations. Which is what most here think he will, and that would be great but you’re counting on something that may not be that likely.

      • Puckhead

        Tre will get the best deal he can. It’s too soon to pay him $3M and I think most people believe that a #1 RW will be acquired sooner than later. Based on comparable $2Mish per seems like it’s in the ballpark.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          “A real #1RW will be acquired sooner than later.” Based on what?

          Did you have that same optimism when Iginla was lacking a #1 centre throughout his stint here?

          Tre is paying Frolik north of $4M. I believe he acquired him with the intent of playing him on the top line. Didn’t work.

          Wasn’t the theory behind drafting MT that he would eventually play RW on the top line and that dream was expedited with his stellar rookie campaign?

          I am advising Flame fans to not hold their breath waiting for a real #1 RW. Pretty low priority considering the empty net and all the missing defencemen.

          • Puckhead

            I think one could argue the case that Frolik is playing on the #1 line.

            From what I read on these posts it appears that most people either believe or are optimistically hopeful that Tre can get a #1 RW. Let’s cross our fingers and see if he can make something happen. It’s easy to be critical but fans are allowed to dream, aren’t they?

            Obviously Tre has to pick up some goalies and a #4D.

          • Puckhead

            To Jakethesnail – not sure who your comment is pointed towards and confusing. I don’t think anyone here ever thought he would be playing on the first line. In my view he is a ‘filler’ and may be be best suited to a 3rd line role. Hopefully I’m wrong and he proves that he’s better than that.

          • HOCKEY83

            all the missing defensmen??? They have one of the best defensive corps in the league. Giordano, Brodie, Hamilton, Stone. They also have some of the top up and coming prospects as well with Fox who won every college award you could win last season and was outstanding on team USA who beat Canada in the gold medal game. 6’7″ Falkovski who is huge, fast and very offensively talented. Andersson, Kulak. Do some research.

  • Jobu

    Ferland’s toughness will be needed without Engelland in the fold anymore. As such, the team could be asking more from him in other departments. I’d be ok with 3 years at 2.5.

    • supra steve

      Don’t think that’s legal—“A Performance Bonus can be given to a player in addition to their salary. Performance bonuses are only paid to the player if they meet the requirements as defined by the bonus. Performance bonuses count against the salary cap; however, a team can exceed the salary cap due to performance bonuses by the maximum performance bonus cushion amount of 7.5 percent of the upper limit. Not all players are eligible for Performance Bonuses, and to receive a bonus within their contract, a player must meet one of the following criteria:
      The player is on an entry-level contract.
      The player has signed a one-year contract and is over 35 years old.
      The player has signed a one-year contract after returning from a long-term injury (has played 400 or more games, and spent 100 or more days on the Injured Reserve in the last year of their most recent contract).” from CapFriendly

      • L.Kolkind

        I had no idea that rules existed about who is eligible for performance bonuses. I knew that basically, every player on their ELC got them and that a quite a bit of money was available to Iginla on his most recent contract based on performance bonuses. Thanks for the comment it was really helpful.

  • Jessemadnote

    Interesting comparable with 2014/15 Bouma.

    -Bouma had a 15.4 sh% and Ferland had a 14.2.
    -Bouma had 34 points and Ferland had 25.
    -Bouma had 34.6% zone starts and Ferland had 50.2%.
    – Bouma had a -2.5% FF relative and Ferland had a -2.7% FF relative.

    I’m not anti-Ferland by any means but if Bouma’s contract is an overpayment then Ferland receiving anything higher than 2.2 would be an overpayment.

  • freethe flames

    3 years between 2.2m Bouma money and 2.5m; anything more in regards to term or money is too much. That being said I would like to see BT get both this and the Bennett bridge deal done sooner than later.

  • I think anything more than 2 is too much. I even think a 1 million raise from his current for 3 years is fair for both. He could end up a Bouma but I don’t think that is likely. I am betting that he will, at least, be an effective 4th line agitator that can avoid being a liability while even pitching in on a few goals. That is worth around 2.

  • Just.Visiting

    Two years at $4MM in a shared risk approach. If he performs well, the Flames will need to open the wallet for years three +. If he doesn’t, we have potential flexibility part way through year two in the trading window. For those of a certain age, it would be great if he turned into our own John Ferguson.

    • L.Kolkind

      Why do have him making more than $2 million if it’s only a 2-year contract? If we aren’t buying any UFA years the contract should be less not more. If it’s a 2-year contract I would be fine with $2.25.

      I personally agree with the idea of a 4 year $2.75 million contract. We get 2 UFA years and even if Ferland doesn’t live up to expectations he is an easy to sell asset. He plays tough, hits hard, and is known to perform in the playoffs. Some team would be more than willing to bet a 3rd on him making a return to form. It is almost a no risk signing as if Ferland succeeds we get fantastic value, and if he doesn’t his cap hit isn’t too high to trade off as a reclamation project or to a team that still hasn’t changed to the new school of thought.

      I saw the stats posted earlier, comparing him to Bouma and while Bouma didn’t quite live up to the expectations, I’m sure if the Flames tried to trade Bouma some team would be perfectly happy to have him on the 4th line. He is one of those high-energy players, that teams love to have. He brings all the intangibles that old school GMs sign guys to big money for. The only thing that Bouma is missing is a cup ring otherwise he would be signed to Brouwer money.

  • Lucky 13

    I understand the comparisons between Bouma and Ferland as far as point production. But I think that’s where it ends.

    Ferland is one of the intangibles I would bet on. He created havoc in the last post season with Vancouver and strikes fear in the opposition. Bouma never has nor will, no disrespect to Bouma.

    It’s no wonder JG play was affected with Ferland on the ice, he created a lot of extra maneuvering space for Johnny.
    Nobody wants to see the #79 train coming at them!
    In addition, he has a blistering shot and is very accurate with it.. Bouma doesn’t.

    Even if Ferland doesn’t stay on the 1st line, he can be very effective as a 3rd line support.
    I hope that our coaching doesn’t misuse him on the 4th line ever again, he has much more to offer.

    Saying that I hope he gets Bouma $$ and signs for 3 years @ 2.2M

  • freethe flames

    It’s funny I just did Capfriendly expansion draft using their quick picks and the average fan out their would have Ferland unprotected. But that’s okay so was Murray fro Pittsburg and I’m pretty sure they will move Fluery before losing Murray. I fully expect Vegas to select more than 3 goalies based on what’s out and then swap 1 of them for either prospects(guys who have a couple of years left in their ELC and are waiver eligable) and draft picks. I also believe that tems like the Rangers/Caps/Av’s may be prepared to move their backups rather than lose them for nothing. BT still needs to find a goalie.

    • Lucky 13

      Anyone who protects Fluery over Murray has no clue.
      Same with Ferland. There’s no way BT protects Brouwer over Ferland. Lazar is a head scratcher, but I say Ferland has more potential than Lazar hands down.
      I agree we need a goalie first but there’s going to be a boat load of them available come expansion time.
      Ferland must be protected and I’m sure BT will.

      • supra steve

        As it stands, there is no choice to be made, having a clue has nothing to do with it. Fleury has a NMC, so the Pens are forced to protect him, and that would leave Murray unprotected. Can they deal Fleury away before expansion?…they are certainly hoping so. Can they ask Fleury to waive his NMC to be picked up by Vegas?…perhaps, but would he do that to play for an expansion franchise?

        • Kevin R

          Was a report from Montreal that Fleury’s wife was recently checking out homes & schools in Vegas. Word is McPhee is hot on Fleury & that sounds like Fleury has a chance to be the face of a new franchise & will probably waive his NMC to either facilitate a trade before the expansion draft or be available to be picked. I heard Pens may throw in a pick to do the trade so they would have no concerns on who is protected in advance of the E draft. So I think MAF, like all the Bishop rumours to Calgary, will not be a Flame. Now that leaves an interesting trade scenario for Tre with McPhee to getting him to pick off Ranta or Grubeuer & flipping him to Calgary. I think in 7 days the Cup finals will be over & things will start to get real fun. :-}

          • supra steve

            Yes, June and the first part of July will be very active and interesting. I think there will be some real expansion head scratchers due to backroom deals that have been made. And you are correct, it will be fun.

  • DKramer

    Two of the TSN guys just did an updated mock draft. One had them picking Chaisson and the other had them picking Bouma. Hopefully they’ve got inside information and this is the case!