The Carolina Hurricanes have been in the media spotlight for some time. The focus for a while had been on the trade of Micheal Ferland. The assumption and speculation were rampant, with each new day bringing with it the expectation of an announcement that he has been shipped out.
A Hurricanes fan texted me a while back and said, “I have Ferland fatigue.” I understood exactly what he meant: “Enough already. Either trade him or sign him, but please stop talking about the impending trade that is not materializing.”
But lately, the “any day now” talk about trading him has cooled a bit in the past few days, and Ferland fatigue is fading.
The Ferland Chronicles
Of course one had to have been totally devoid of any hockey news to know that the past few months have been a lot about Ferland for the Hurricanes. Part of the big trade in the offseason with the Calgary Flames, Ferland came to the ‘Canes in the shadow of defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Ferland was essentially a nice piece of the overall trade puzzle, but not by any means the marquis name.
That has changed. He has risen through the ranks of Hurricanes player popularity like a rocket. He is well-loved by the fans and is making a real difference. The success the team has had – especially during times that were particularly difficult this season – can largely be attributed to his tough, physical style of play and his determined attitude.
Ferland has 15 goals and 16 assists so far this season. He is fourth on the team in points behind Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and team captain Justin Williams.
In late January, the talk of moving Ferland reached a crescendo. Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell addressed the situation with WTVD television in Raleigh.
With the #NHL trade deadline just over a month away @NHLCanes fans are clinging to hope that Micheal Ferland will stay. Hear what Don Waddell had to say about @ferdaddy27 #ABC11 @ABC11_WTVD pic.twitter.com/a4ygchKnzE
— Bridget Condon (@BridgetABC11) January 17, 2019
Waddell said the team definitely wants to sign Ferland but has to do what makes sense for the team financially based on where they are in the development process. The word was that he and his agent were seeking a significant amount in a new deal.
Brett Finger at Canes Country wrote a piece a few weeks ago that detailed the upcoming salaries that the team is projected to sign and the resulting cap space they would have to deal with and asked, “Are the Hurricanes really going to commit upwards of $6 million annually to Micheal Ferland (some reports suggest he wants even more than that) over a long term deal? Will they feel comfortable spending half of their cap space for next season on him?”
Since the team has already signed Teravainen and traded for Nino Niederreiter, accounting for nearly $11 million per season in salary, the ceiling for huge deals is not very high. After all, if anyone on the team is going to get a whopper of a deal it will be Aho. This leaves Ferland looking like he will have to go elsewhere to get paid what he thinks he is worth.
Ferland Fatigue Dies Down
Since Austin Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs signed his huge deal on Feb. 5 – five years for $58.17 million, it seems that the rabid talk that Ferland was about to be traded has died down. It may be as Greg Wyshynski wrote at ESPN.com that there is a ripple effect that will naturally come from Matthews’ deal. Could it be that Ferland’s group has had to regroup a bit, knowing that they are not going to get anywhere near that kind of money? Is it possible that they are looking now at staying with the Hurricanes?
How likely is it the #Canes make the playoffs? What to make of the Micheal Ferland contract situation? Kicking a puck? And how's Ridge Rock?
— Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) February 13, 2019
There are those in the hockey media who do not think so and are convinced that Ferland is gone from the Hurricanes.
This week, Scott Burnside wrote on The Athletic, “How about this? GM Don Waddell gets a package that includes a first-round pick for Micheal Ferland and then turns that into a top-six scoring forward (like Mark Stone or Matt Duchene or Mats Zuccarello) and the team makes the playoffs for the first time since 2009. OK, probably not going to happen, at least the addition part, although Ferland is clearly on the way out, and Waddell needs to get a good return given how well the players he sent to Calgary in that deal are performing.” (From “NHL Trade Deadline: What to expect from all 31 teams” – Scott Burnside” – The Athletic – 2/13/19).
The assumption continues that Ferland is out the door. An assumption that fans have grown tired of hearing. I still hope that the Hurricanes can come to terms with him. It can be argued that he is a huge part why they are within legitimate striking distance of the playoffs. They have had great success of late, and are fighting for a spot. If there is any way to keep him in a Hurricanes sweater, the team would be well-served to make it happen.
Mark lives in the Raleigh, NC area and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.