68
Photo Credit: James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: Should the Flames try to trade for Micheal Ferland?

There are two options for the Flames at the deadline: buy, or stand pat. Considering just how close the team could be to winning a Stanley Cup, though, it’s pretty difficult to see them doing something other than making an attempt to make their team better for a postseason run.

One avenue they could pursue would be to get a new forward to bolster their ranks – and someone they’re very familiar with just might be on the market. So, does it make sense for the Flames to trade for Micheal Ferland?

While the Flames have been linked to Ferland, they aren’t alone. It makes sense, though: Ferland exhibits a lot of desirable traits in a hockey player, especially for a playoff run. Not only is he pretty much the epitome of toughness, but he can score, as well – and we’ve already seen him so effective in one playoff series that he was a major factor in ensuring his team’s victory.

Assuming the Hurricanes – themselves a bubble team who may want to keep Ferland, even if they’re unable to re-sign him – do trade him, then they should have a lot of suitors.

That poses a couple of problems for the Flames:

  1. If multiple teams are interested in Ferland, then there will be a bidding war for his services. That’ll drive the price up. The Flames do not exactly have a lot of assets to spend at this stage.
  2. Ferland would, at absolute best, be a middle six player on the Flames. Is it worth it to get into a bidding war for someone who may very well just end up on the third line?

If the Flames have limited assets to spend, and are able to swing a deal for a higher calibre player (say, someone who isn’t as physical, but is a stronger scorer – someone Matthew Tkachuk would probably need on his line), then why not focus those assets on a player who can upgrade the top six in a meaningful way, rather than a tweener?

One of Ferland’s problems is that while he can score, he can’t drive play on his own. He scored 41 points in 77 games with the Flames in 2017-18, but that was when he was playing on a line with Johnny Gaudreau (84 points that year) and Sean Monahan (74 points). He would not be going back to that line – not with Elias Lindholm, a player capable of keeping up with Monahan offensively, present.

This season, with Carolina, Ferland has 25 points in 41 games, good for fourth in their team scoring. But he spends most of his time alongside Sebastian Aho (57 points) and Teuvo Teravainen (43 points). If the Flames got Ferland and had him playing on, say, the third line, he would not be that productive a player.

How would Ferland even shift the Flames’ lineup makeup? Assuming the top line is left alone, then here are a couple of possible variations for the middle six (assuming Sam Bennett is pushed to the fourth line alongside Derek Ryan and Garnet Hathaway or Austin Czarnik):

Ferland Backlund Frolik
Tkachuk Jankowski Neal
Tkachuk Backlund Ferland
Frolik Jankowski Neal
Tkachuk Backlund Frolik
Ferland Jankowski Neal
Frolik Backlund Neal
Tkachuk Jankowski Ferland

Basically, you’d have the AHL call-up spot eliminated, and you’d have a few more options for mixing players up, but is bumping Bennett down to the fourth line truly a meaningful upgrade when the incoming player can’t generate that much offence on his own – especially considering the possibly raised price to acquire him in the event of a bidding war?

On the other hand, the Flames are familiar with Ferland, and he with them, so it’s not as though anyone would have to worry too much about an adjustment period or any supposed disruption in chemistry. The Canucks back in 2015 were a weaker opponent, but Ferland was still able to create plenty of havoc for them from a line with David Jones and Matt Stajan. And he is a good complementary player – it’s just we haven’t seen him have to complement non-elite forwards for a few years now.

On the other other hand, if the Flames are going to be spending assets regardless, would they be better off aiming higher to improve their forward ranks – say, by getting an indisputable top six forward who can drive play? Keeping in mind they have a meagre amount of picks and prospects they actually can spend, would it be better to make a couple of small moves to improve the team, such as trading for Ferland, or go all in on one big acquisition?

I believe the assumption here would be that the Flames won’t be re-signing whoever they trade for – including Ferland – as their cap for the 2019-20 season likely won’t be able to accommodate any big additions long-term, not with Tkachuk’s upcoming extension. (And a hometown discount shouldn’t be an option for Ferland, either – he has a limited career window, especially considering the physical nature of his play, and he should be looking to maximize his paycheque, period. I’d imagine his agent would advise him of that.)

Or, considering the Flames’ lacking prospect cupboards and few high picks, would it make more sense to just not do anything at all?

What would you do?

  • Albertabeef

    NO. He would disrupt the chemistry. No picking up anyone who would be mad if they were not playing on the top line. He would get stuck on the third or fourth line. He is better off playing his LW elsewhere instead of trying to play RW here.

  • Rocket66

    Said it before and I’ll say it again. I would take ferland and put him in the first line to police the bs that will be going on in the playoffs on johnny
    Sit him down and tell him this is his chance to earn a good pay raise. Maybe not with the flames but teams will be watching
    First line is going to be shut down most nights. We need second and third lines producing
    Mony Johnny ferland
    Byng lindholm
    Janko. Backland frolik
    Bennet
    Fill in the spaces. But these would be all great lines

    • Albertabeef

      I trashed it and I’ll tell you why. Lindholm is currently our 5th best checker right behind Chucky by 3 hits(51 and 48). You think this kid isn’t tough enough? You think he can’t do Ferly’s job with way more skill? A 5th overall pick vs 5th round pick? Give your head a shake. Lindy is 4 years younger without the health issues. Last but probably not least, Ferly is a natural LW, and that is the position he should play to be more effective. I do believe that is the position he is playing in Carolina.

      Now if you want to leave Tkachuck with Benny and Janks and put Ferly on the left of Backs and Frolik, that would probably be wiser. But I still say no.

  • deantheraven

    Great stuff, Ari! What a conundrum you present. Ferly with Neal could be just what the doctor ordered for JN. Neal would up his physicality with Ferland as a line mate. I could see them backing off D-men and winning battles in the dirty areas come playoff time. On the other hand,
    Neal has looked good with Backs and Fro, and the idea of Chucky and Ferly on the same attack is mouth-watering.
    I’d try all three combos you suggest. If Peters plays with combos of 2 or 3 for a while, those options are exciting.
    Obviously I support the acquisition of Micheal Ferland .
    But at what cost, right?
    I like the idea of moving replace-ables like Mangiapane, Czarnik, or maybe a farm hand or two and draft picks (and possibly Jankowski or Ryan) but I’m not sure that I’d part with any others on the roster to bring back Ferkland.
    There’s a logjam in the bottom six because none of our FWD prospects have shown they can take a regular spot.
    We see Ferly in the middle six. Your Stats show he does better with better players. Who doesn’t. I don’t want to replace anyone in the middle six we have.
    But even if he’s in the bottom six in the playoffs, he’ll bring quality minutes. The best way I can see for Ferland to become a Flame again is… Peters will need to be able to run more than three lines every night once the season’s over, and the war begins. If we subtract a player or two from below, it seems to follow that Bennett and Ferland would play more minutes.
    A healthy, ornery Micheal Ferland is exactly the kind of guy this team will need to win a playoff series, or three.

    Mangiapane just called up= Final assessment/pumping of value?

    • The Beej

      No, not really a call up. Mangiapne was just sent down to get in some reps during the break as he is not eligible for Waivers.

      Not a true demotion and not a true call up.

      Although you are right in that it is probably time to assess and pump up trade value if you can.

  • deantheraven

    There has been evidence recently that points to secondary scoring trending up with the current line up. The groupings that Peters has been deploying of late, including PP2, have started to click more often.
    Call me old fashioned, but I’d be looking for functional toughness with the advent of an advantageous playoff appearance.

  • freethe flames

    After hearing Burke talk about Ferland last week I doubt it will happen. Add to that how lopsided the trade with Carolina looks I doubt they will trade him back. After watching the Ranger/Flyers game last night and the two Flames/Flyers games I have little to know interest in Simmonds. Zuc was a scratch last night and I am not interested in him either.