This past season, Flames fans were introduced to a lot of kids. Among them was a train named Micheal Ferland, who introduced himself to the Vancouver Canucks (and Kevin Bieksa) during the playoffs. Similar to the Flames' own Lance Bouma, Ferland is suited to a bottom six role - bringing big hits and energy - and he's got a pretty decent scoring touch to boot.
At 6'2 and 215 lbs, it's not surprising he can throw big hits. A nice bonus, though, is that if his hockey career to date, including the playoffs, are any indication, he's got just enough finesse in his play to put up decent points totals each season. Depth players who use their bodies and can score are prime real estate in this league, and at only 23, Ferland still has a few years of growth left, and a lot to prove - this is how you rebuild.
|Rank||Player||DOB||Draft||2014-15 team||Vote total|
||04/20/92||133rd overall, 2010
||Adirondack Flames (AHL), Calgary Flames (NHL)
Born in a small town in Manitoba to an amazing single mother, Micheal Ferland worked hard with what he had to make it to where he is now. He got his start through a tryout with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings before upgrading to the WHL team, and eventually being drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fifth round in 2010. After a slow start, he really shone in his draft +1 and +2 years, becoming one of the Wheat Kings' top scorers.
After making his professional hockey debut with the Abbotsford Heat, the dream of making the NHL seemed to fade as he was sent to the ECHL, and finished the season in the WHL, where the Wheat Kings traded him to the Memorial Cup hosts, the Saskatoon Blades.
The Flames organization helped save Ferland as he battled with alcoholism. He was able to turn to Bob Hartley and former alcoholic Brian McGrattan. Hartley challenged Ferland to improve his life to in turn improve his career, and this past March, Ferland celebrated one year of sobriety.
Along the way he established himself as a professional hockey player, going on a point-per-game tear after a bumpy start for the Abbotsford Heat before an injury prematurely ended his season. He picked up where he left off this past season, although a concussion in his first NHL game sidelined him for a bit. That said, when he recovered he was still a useful contributor in Adirondack, and, as we saw, incredibly effective in Calgary during the end of the regular season, and especially in the playoffs.
Strengths and weaknesses
His ability to use his body, mixed with his ability to score has been covered and can be observed through the stats above. Ferland is most definitely one of those 'intangibles' players - possessing heart, grit, passion, and what-have-you. He won't give up and he will give it his all to help his team out.
Unfortunately, this translates in his emotions; sometimes they can get the best of him. This showed in the playoff round against the Canucks in a few unnecessary penalties - a more seasoned and controlled player would have kept the glove on. This should be something that irons itself out as he grows and gains experience.
Future with the Flames
Ferland showcased his talents nicely near the end of last season, and looked to compliment the Flames' roster. He also fits right in with the Flames' "Never Quit" attitude and has a great relationship with coach Bob Hartley. With his skill set, he's a solid bottom six winger and he projects to surpass the beloved Lance Bouma on the depth chart, as a similar player with more proven scoring. Good depth players make all the difference in the league, and a big body with points production is prime.
Expectations for 2015-16
No longer waiver exempt, it's hard to imagine Ferly will start the season with any team other than the Calgary Flames. He would have to clear waivers to get sent to the Stockton Heat, and with the playoff showing he gave, it's unlikely 29 other teams would let him slide on through.
Hopefully, he can continue to be the player we saw at the end of last season.
Earlier on the list
#25 - Ryan Culkin // #24 - Hunter Smith // #23 - Pavel Karnaukhov // #22 - Garnet Hathaway // #21 - Kenny Agostino// #20 - Mark Jankowski // #19 - Bill Arnold // #18 - Kenney Morrison // #17 - Andrew Mangiapane // T-#14 - Mason McDonald // T-#14 - Brandon Hickey // T-#14 - Rasmus Andersson // #13 - Tyler Wotherspoon // #12 - Oliver Kylington // #11 - Morgan Klimchuk // #10 - Markus Granlund // #9 - Drew Shore // #8 - Joni Ortio