Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Micheal Ferland files for arbitration

The Calgary Flames have a number of restricted free agents to sign. For some – like Sam Bennett and Curtis Lazar – the process can’t really be forced, and a deal will likely get done sooner or later. For others – like Micheal Ferland – it can be pressed along if the player is eligible for arbitration.

Ferland has filed for arbitration regarding his next contract. He is the only Flames RFA to do so.

Ferland, 25, is coming off of a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $825,000. When he signed that deal following the 2014-15 season, all he really had to show for it was a decent final quarter of the season and an outstanding first round playoff series. Since then, he’s proved he’s a surefire NHLer, although to what extent isn’t quite clear yet.

This past season, Ferland scored 15 goals and 25 points in 76 games. He averaged a mere 11:34 in ice time per game, but ended the season playing on the team’s top line, alongside two players making over $6 million a year. This poses a central question to his arbitration proceedings, should they reach that point: is Ferland a fourth liner or a first liner?

Read more: RFA Profile: Micheal Ferland

Arbitration hearings have been noted for their potential to be vicious, and it’s generally in everyone’s best interests to get the player signed before that point is reached; however, it’s not the end of the world if the hearing goes forward. It will, however, mean Ferland’s camp will be building him up in order to prove he’s worth the salary they’re seeking, while the Flames will be not necessarily tearing him down but certainly not giving him as glowing a review in an attempt to sign the player to a cheaper deal.

So Ferland’s camp could, for example, say that he was the best fit alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, and deserves to be paid accordingly (though they probably aren’t seeking a similar salary; Ferland has a career 48 points in 173 games and some realism has to be applied here), while the Flames may point out how he was used sparingly and could call his elevated 2016-17 shooting percentage into question.

Read more: What will Micheal Ferland’s next contract look like?

It is worth noting that Ferland requires two more seasons to reach unrestricted free agency, and if his case is decided by an arbitrator, the result will be binding for either one or two seasons, no more, no less. Ferland is also no longer eligible to sign any offer sheets.

A brief recent history of the Flames and arbitration

No Flames RFAs filed for arbitration in 2016, but three did in 2015: Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, and Josh Jooris. Byron and Jooris settled and were re-signed before their arbitration hearings, picking up one-year deals just shy of $1 million.

Bouma’s hearing, on the other hand, proceeded. The Flames ended up re-signing him before the arbitrator could hand down their decision, however, to a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $2.2 million. That contract backfired. Ferland has shown more through his NHL career to date – not to mention the success he has experienced actually appears sustainable – so the Flames likely won’t be in a Bouma situation should they end up with something similar with Ferland.


    It’s risky to dole out big money and term to a recovering alcoholic. I don’t mean to sound brash about it, but the support the Flames have already given him for future sucess should count for a lot. One would think…

    • Connor'sGotHart,Ross,Lindsay!

      With all due respect I think that’s a stupid comment. The team gave him opportunity but he should not be expected to take less because of it.
      3 years $6.75 .

      • ALL THE WAY IN

        I knew that would be an unpopular comment but i personally believed he wouldn’t take the team to arbritration. He wants to stay here, I think hes a core piece, but to want to go to war with the team that went to bat for you in the game of life instead of cutting ties is suprising to me. He is worth the money but the risk is still attached.

        • Ari Yanover

          Slow your roll dude, if Ferland didn’t want to be a Flame he wouldn’t be going to arbitration, he’d be demanding a trade. Also he’s not doing this to get back at the team, or you (since you seem to be taking this incredibly personally for no apparent reason), he’s doing it because it’s a natural progression in contract talks.

          And your first comment was trashed because it was grossly insensitive and inappropriate. You basically just said anyone who has ever faced any hardship in their life ever and has reached out for help should be expected to be indebted (with a side implication that recovering alcoholics are somehow worth less?).

          You really should probably step away from this all together and gain some perspective, because where you’re coming from both doesn’t make sense and is unbelievably insulting.

          • ALL THE WAY IN

            Why would he demand a trade. People care about him here. If he went to a place like New York things could get worse like it did for Fleury. You may call it insensitive but i call it being a realist. Having 2 uncles pass from alcohol abuse, i know struggle. The relapses are real and now the possiblity of the team cutting ties are real.

          • Ari Yanover

            He’s not demanding a trade. That’s the entire point. He’s not leaving. You seem convinced he is because he filed for arbitration, a thing 29 other players have also done (and some of whom have already re-signed with their teams). In the midst of all that, you’ve taken on an ableist attitude and implied he should be worth less because of off-ice struggles he appears to be managing.

            Take the L.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          This may be a belief better left unspoken, it is one thing to believe but it is an entirely different animal when you try and justify the comment. Like Ari stated, arbitration is a right a player has once the reach a certain level so why not leverage it. Ferland does not owe the organization anything more or less than other players. Players like McDavid have the luxury of leaving some contract money on the table but Ferland needs to make the best deal he can and GMs understand that.

    • Newbietwo

      Take our remarks in the response and shove it ok buddy.. the guy had a problem and he addresses it so you gonna label him as something now forever? I mean come on dude

  • smatic10

    He’s a modern day power forward, i.e. big, physical, can fight, skates really well, and can snipe pucks. He has a very stable leg to stand on in this arbitration because he is the only guy on this team that can keep other teams players honest. Watch Anthony Cook’s youtube channel, he recently posted Ferland’s highlights for 2016-2017, you can see the impact he has. Now that I think about it, buying out Bouma was probably more about freeing up space for Ferland rather than opening up a roster spot. We need him, I hope we can lock him up longterm somehow.

  • Puckhead

    3yrs x $2.5M. If he ends up on the 3rd line it’s still decent value for what he brings. However, if the plan is to keep him on the top line then maybe 2yrs @ $3M – a shorter prove you’re worth it type deal. If he stays on the first line and is given PP time he could put up some good point totals this season.

    • Connor'sGotHart,Ross,Lindsay!

      2.25- 2.5 would be ok. From an Edmonton standpoint he is along the lines of Kassian . Almost the same type of player with Ferland seemingly having a higher offensive ceiling.
      Kassian has an annual hit of 1.95 so 2.25-2.5 wouldn’t be out of reach.

    • Skylardog

      I always felt he was worth $2.0 to $2.5 per season for 2 years. I often use $2.25 in mock rosters on Capfriendly.

      One stat that cannot go without noting is that he was number 1 on the Flames at PP Points per 60 Minutes of PP Time at 6.77. Backlund was 2nd at 5.79, with Versteeg and Tkachuk at 5.46 and 5.08. JG and Mony were 8th and 9th at 4.15 and 4.11. Brouwer was 11th at 3.69, but got 178 minutes of PP time to Ferlands 35. The 35 for Ferland will be used to discount his PP value.

      I would argue if I was Ferlands agent that the Flames have misused him resulting in lower production, and point to his playoff ice time (very low) considering he was on the first line.

      • C Watson

        I agree with your, and other similar assessments – $2 – $2.5M per for 2 – 3 years. In addition, while being physical he is a very clean hockey player and actually takes very few penalties. Drops them when need be but never with malice.

  • Puckhead

    P.S. I’ll take Ferland any day over a Radulov-type player. The guy has big kahunas, can put the puck in the twine, and has soft hands when needed. He’s also a great role model.

    Ferland 💥 + Flames 🔥 = Success 🏆

      • Atomic Clown

        See, McDavid keeps giving me less and less reasons to dislike him. He’s the most electrifying player I’ve ever seen, the best player since Crosby (sorry, I still think crosby is the best player in the NHL right now) and I realize $12.5 mil is no pennies, but I fully expected him to take $14 mil. Best of luck in the BoA!

      • Puckhead

        What does my post have to do with whomever this other guy is you’re talking about? We’re talking about Ferland. I have never said anything about this other guy ever with regards to his value so I’m not sure why you’re replying to me. Maybe you’re hearing voices again?

      • Cheeky

        What a trooper he is. Only $12.5 mil for a 20 yr old. Handed the C and now this, Im sure it wont to his head…at least he some pocket money to buy some acne cream.

      • oilcanboyd

        The biggest PLANNED discount in the NHL!!! Oil just leaked a bogus 13.25 mill contract just to make McD look good when he signed for less….and a leaked asking of over 9 million for Draisaitl is out there too….PR staff of Oil working Overtime….

  • Eggs Bennett

    He will have a hard time justifying a salary higher than $2-2.25M. Sure, he’s an impact power forward but his counting stats just aren’t that strong. Recent comparables during their contract years: Bouma 34pts $2.2M; Colborne 40pts $2.5M; Versteeg 37pts $1.75M. At the end of the day, as a forward, your performance should be mostly governed by production and a career high of 25 pts is just not that impressive. You might argue he has more potential than all of the players above, but the reality is his point total to date is also 30-40% lower.

  • Skylardog

    It really makes you wonder what the Flames are offering? I would be very disappointed to find out they were low balling him. It really hit me in the playoffs last year that if I was him and his agent, given how big an impact he had in the 2015 playoffs, and how little icetime he got in the 2017 playoffs, I would be asking for a trade. I think he is a very loyal player, but at some point you have to fight for the opportunity to prove your value. This may be the first move at pushing the pile.

    Is NHL arbitration about setting a value, or is it a case of either the Flames offer or the players demand being chosen?

    • Legend of Weevil

      This very likely means nothing at this point. Players have to file for arbitration by a certain point. They can be close to a deal and this is just Ferland using a safety net

    • Lucky 13

      I’m pretty sure a player has to select arbitration by July 5.
      That’s just to protect himself, as is the case with Ferland.
      BT can negotiate with Ferland’s agent up until the arbitration hearing. They usually go into late July, beginning of August from what I remember.

      This isn’t the case with Ferland, I believe he will sign long before arbitration.
      That’s my take …

    • IUsedToHaveAName

      A qualifying offer means that Ferland will be signing on off an at most 10% raise if I recall correctly.

      Filing for arbitration means that he thinks he is worth more than an extra 90 grand or whater his last contract was.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      If they are offering him less than Kassian’s contract then I agree he needs to push back. You can’t talk about putting him on the top line and not expect him to push for more than a Third line contract. There has not been a player that has played with Johnny and Monny semi-regularly that has been a better fit since Hudler. Nobody on the team has a better wrist shot, so use him on the PP and watch his points climb.

    • OYYC

      A good conspiracy theorist would also argue that Bennett having to drag Brouwer around for half the season to suppress his 2nd contract is in the same ballpark

      • OYYC

        I know. But the way GG utilized his best players last year you had to think sometimes that was his plan.

        The Troy Brouwer was about 50 games too late dropping to the 4th line. Hopefully management and the coach doesn’t try to save face and try him back with Bennett. That would make Sam very sad.

        • The GREAT WW

          That’s a great reason to take Byng off the 3M line.
          Byng needs to show he can drive his own line….
          Backlund needs to show he can score without Byng….


          • OYYC

            Hopefully they just leave Brouwer on the 4th line to minimize the damage. If they don’t it causes developmental problems for the youngsters if Bennett, Lazar, or Jankowski have to play with him.

            I have little doubt that Tkachuk can be the driver on the 2B line with Bennett and Lazar. That leaves Jankowski learning his trade from the 2 Mikes on the 2A line. That’s the way I see it, and it will show how much of a contributing factor Tkachuk/Byng was to the success of the 3M line like you said.

      • OYYC

        Yep, part of that was to see if the reputation of Brouwer as a mighty playoff performer may actually be true, and if there was any hope for a rebound. The team has their answer, and he needs to start the year on the 4th line.

  • Legend of Weevil

    Last year the Flames took Johnny Guadreau all the way till the end of the season. Is this possibly Ferland just forcing the Flames hand and making sure it doesn’t take that long?

    • OYYC

      Guadreau had no arbitration leverage. Arbitration hearings are held by the middle of August at the latest. The Ferland deal will be done before that. Treliving also had the brilliant, “Our captain Mark Giordano is to be our highest paid player”, which at 6.75M put an artificial cap on what Guadreau was ever going to make.

  • OYYC

    “This poses a central question to his arbitration proceedings, should they reach that point: is Ferland a fourth liner or a first liner?”

    First liner. You have to go cheap somewhere in the lineup, and getting a player like Ferland as a 1RW on a cheap 3 year deal is about as good as it gets. Lazar figures to be the 3RW and he has even less leverage with the team.

    The Flames don’t need an expensive upgrade top 2 line right winger, they have had one all along in Mr. Ferland.

    Ferland won’t be getting 11:34 ATOI with very limited powerplay time, compared to The Troy Brouwer with his 16:13 of ice time and 11 PP points. Both players got 25 points when the ball stopped rolling last year, and took completely opposite paths to get there.

  • BendingCorners

    Micheal looks to me like a younger faster lighter version of Milan Lucic (6M/yr). Last year Milan had twice the ice time and 25 even strength points (50 total). Micheal had 21 ES points (25 total). His S% was much higher than in previous years so how much he is worth depends on whether he can maintain anything close to that S% and on how many ES minutes he gets. Even if everybody thinks he’s not as good as Milan, it’s hard to justify paying Micheal less than 3M per year, without saying that the last quarter of last year was a fluke. Suppose the contract is 2.5M for one year instead. If that last quarter was a fluke then in 2018-19 he gets the same or less. If it was not a fluke then he gets 5M or more, or gets traded. It might be safest to go 3×3 and play him a lot and hope for the best. I have no crystal ball, but I think he is worth at least that much and will prove it next year.

    • Willi P

      If you are going to make an Oilers comparison, Zach Kassian is much closer. As stated, Ferland had a great 1/4 of a season but it was only 1/4 of a season. I don’t think that the fact he spent that part of the season with the top line will have any effect, in fact, they might see it as the top line players elevating his game to an un-sustainable level. An arbitrator will look at comparables in age, utilization and style etc. Kassian @ 1.95M over three years is much closer to what he would likely get through that process (with the max being two years). BT knows this and I think he will treat Ferland fairly but would be surprised if it is much more than the Bouma deal. I really like Ferland and think his ceiling is very high but NHL players generally do not get paid on potential, 25 points will not help his case.

  • Skylardog

    I had a new thought on how to sign MF last night (posted a team on Capfriendly) I have always said go 2 years at $2.25 per. I changed my thinking. Go 4 to 5 years at up to $3.0 (I think he would sign for 5 at $2.5).

    There are teams with top RW and centres that will be unable to sign players that are deserving of big raises next spring.

    At the trade deadline, package MF, one of Gillies or Rittich, and a forward prospect (say Pribyl or Poirier) for a top line RW for JG and Mony. It could be a UFA or RFA forward, or a top player that needs to move out to create cap space for a UFA or RFA a team can’t afford to let go of.

    What MF at 5 years for $2.5 to $3.0 gives a team with a cap problem is cap certainty. That has huge value. We could get a Neiderrieter for that kind of set up situation.

    The basis of this is that he is not quite right for JG and Mony. He is behind Tkachuk on LW, and Backlunds LW should be a prospect. If he stays on right, I ruled out Monys line, Bennett and Tkachuk need a pure offensive player (Foo or Lazar) to complement the tenacity of Bennett and Tkachuk. Frolik stays with Backlund.

    That only leaves 4th line for MF, and we all know he is better than that.

    • Skylardog

      For those about to tell me that MF is right for JG and Mony, here is why you still sign him for 5 years. If he is the right fit, you now locked down your first line for the next 5 years, with the RW only costing you $2.5 to $3.0 million.

      See – I know what you are all thinking.

      • trox

        I agree. We should throw term at him. At worst he will be a very good third liner, and he may be the guy that sticks with Gaudreau and Monahan. so give him, e.g., $3 x 5 years. Lock him up!

  • Greg

    I love ferland and hope he can stick on the first line all season. But looking closer at his stats, it’s not that realistic. He’s likely a 120-130 shot, ~8-9% shooter, which is 10-12 goals a year. His track record in the AHL was ~0.5ppg. What he did in the playoffs two years ago and in short bursts this year is just that… short bursts. He’s capable of stepping up his game but can’t sustain that (or 14% shooting) for a prolonged period. He’s a decent, 49.5% possession, low teen goal scoring third liner with a great physical presence and an ability to jump up into top 6 when needed for a short time.

    I’ll love it if he proves me wrong, but anything north $2m will seem like an overpay by the end of year 1.

    • Greg

      The more I look at his track record, the more I realize my impression of him was skewed from his short time on the top line this season. Flames should be looking at signing Jagr or someone on a bargain contract if they can, and not penciling ferland is a the top RWer.

      Again, I hope I’m wrong, but it’s reminding of Shaun Donovan… had basically one huge month and spent the next two years being questioned why he wasn’t a 20 goal scorer anymore.

  • Fan the Flames

    Just because he filed doesn’t mean they will end up I need front of an arbitractor the pressure is on BT to get it done and avoid a decision he can’t live with.

  • moore_tweets

    “Someone” should just “pay” Brouwer out to say he’s hurt and needs to go on LTIR. Then the flames could pay the savings for Ferlands contract. And he could play on any line. And we could all stop talking about the terrible contract that is Brouwer.

  • madjam

    If he is slated for top 6 then he should be over 3M/ season . A lot of 3rd and 4th liners are making that figure that are regulars . On merit , he deserves a lot more than the offer presently by the sounds of it . I think even Hendicks for Oilers was drawing over 3M /season as a fourth liner .

    • oilcanboyd

      What Offer? What is presented to RFA is the flames interest in retaining the player. Then they negotiate with or without arbritration. Arbitration just gives the player and the team and third opinion that is binding.

      • madjam

        A qualifying offer has to be made , or he would become a UFA . If offer made then he still is a RFA . Generally it is minimum about 10% increase for any player making over 666,000 and 5% if over age of 26 I believe for it to be regarded as a viable offer .

    • Greg

      If he’s slated for top 6, then we still have a real defiency in our top 6. I’ll be happy if he’s pencilled in as the top-6-short-term-injury plan, but not the permanent fixture.

  • RedMan

    this is a non-issue. team gives qualifying offer that is essentially his last salary plus x%. Ferland will sign a fair decent contract before the arb date, hoping they lock him down for 4 or 5 years.

  • Just.Visiting

    I struggled with watching how MF was used last year when he was having a really solid year before he was moved to the first line. Even when he was moved there, it was absurd that he was not given the first PP front of the net role given his hands and the chemistry shown with SM and JG. at the same time, it’s clear that there continues to be major doubt about him in a continued first line RW role, such that he is regarded as a temporary answer. To me, the clear answer is to try Tkachuk on the first line as he offers a better tooled MF and, hopefully this year, a more disciplined version of last year’s rookie trying to make an impression. Tkachuk played RW in junior, so it’s not like he hasn’t played the position before, and JG could always switch to the off wing like Kane anyway. (Very interested to see where JG’s shots and goals came from at some point.)

    Anyway, this is a long way of saying that MF showed very good hands and smart functional toughness last year. I think he’d be a great long term fit with Sam, with an ability to play up the lineup as required if there were injuries.