Micheal Ferland’s play in the last month could very well be one of the reasons the Flames didn’t go out and add a big name scoring forward at the deadline. Now, Ferland’s sample size while skating with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan is admittedly small, but it’s been effective. In Ferland’s last 5 games he has scored 4 goals and had 7 points (6G 1A) for the month of February. That was Ferland’s best month of the season since he had back to back 5 point months in October and November. Sandwiched in between those 3 months were 2 brutal months in January and February. He had 2 points total in those months and started to look lost, but that part of Ferland’s season appears to be fading away. He was a +8 for the month of February, after being a -2 and -3 in December and January.
Ferland has proven in the last 12 games what many have thought about him, but were waiting to see: he’s a physical player who has a better than average shot and can skate with the best of them (ask Sidney Crosby). I’ve always said that if Ferland could put it together on a consistent basis that he’d be a valuable asset for the Flames. He’s shown flashes of that skating skill and the ability to have break out speed, but he’s never done it with any kind of consistency. That appears to be fading. He also seems to have found his role in Glen Gulutzan’s system. In the past it always seemed like he was there to be a 4th line energy guy and if he scored every now and then, that was a bonus. There were numerous times in the past where Ferland found himself in an office with Brian Burke and Bob Hartley going over his lack of focus and truclulence to the point where I think it became a detriment to his game.
This season that appears to be changing. This what I wrote about Ferland before the season in one of our Round-Table columns:
He’s around where I was hoping for his goals to be (he has 12 currently) and he’s got 19 points total on the season. The Manitoba product has set career highs in points and goals this season and doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down any time soon. Another thing that has been a pleasant surprise for Ferland this season is his PIM are down. He’s played in 60 games so far and has only racked up 31 PIM. Last season he played in 71 games and had 45 PIM. He’s playing smarter this season and that could be maturity, it could be coaching, could be both.
I was wrong about him being a 3rd or 4th liner. He’s clearly shown RECENTLY that he can play on a top line and be a top 6 forward for the Flames. It does remain to be seen if he can keep it up, but as a big fan of the 24 year old winger, it’s nice to see him putting all the facets of his game together and becoming the player people thought he could be. He’s not afraid to get in the corners and do the dirty work, he’s not afraid to drop the gloves when needed and he now is showing that he has a shot and has the speed and footwork to impress. So, did the Flames actually add an asset around the deadline, without giving anything up? It appears they may have, just by moving a player they already had up to a line with more talent on it. Micheal Ferland has 18 more games (RFA at the end of the season) to prove Glen Gulutzan and the Flames made the right move in placing him with Gaudreau and Monahan, so far he seems to be proving he belongs.