On July 10, 2019, the Vancouver Canucks signed Micheal Ferland to a four-year deal with a $3.5 million cap hit. In doing so, the former Calgary Flame, who played last season with the Carolina Hurricanes, inserted himself back into the Canucks/Flames rivalry.
Physical Play is What Ferland Does Best
When the Canucks and Flames met in the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a surprising young rookie named Micheal Ferland was just beginning to find himself in the NHL. He played 26 regular-season games for the Flames in 2014-15, scoring two goals and adding three assists. Although he didn’t put up big numbers during the regular season, it was his ability to get inside the heads of the Canucks during the playoffs that really changed the series in Calgary’s favour.
He had a major impact every time he stepped on the ice, especially when the games were in the Saddledome, as every hit Ferland landed had the Flames faithful out of their seats, eager for more. He has never been shy when it comes to throwing his 216-pound frame around. He collected 598 hits during his four seasons in Calgary, and 2018-19 was career year in hits for him as he laid out 182 opposing players.
When he became a free agent on July 1, there was speculation that he may have been interested in signing with Calgary again. The Flames are on a tight budget, though, as they have some very large contracts to figure out this offseason for Matthew Tkachuk, David Rittich, and Sam Bennett. It wasn’t financially possible for the Flames to go after Ferland, so on July 10, he signed with an old enemy, the Canucks.
On the Money
The Canucks managed to get Ferland at a very fair price, for four years at $3.5 million per season. He can play up and down the lineup, which he’s proven. He played on Calgary’s top line in his final season with the Flames, where he put up 21 goals and 20 assists. This past season, he had 17 goals and 23 assists with the Hurricanes, and he also earned some great playoff experience as the team advanced to the Eastern Conference Final.
That experience is something the Canucks desperately need right now. They are a young team filled with some outstanding up-and-coming talent, but they haven’t made it to the postseason since exiting in the first round in 2015 against the Flames.
Many have said that the Edmonton Oilers and Flames rivalry is one of the best in hockey, but over the years, and after some big playoff battles, it’s the Canucks and Flames rivalry that seems to get fans excited. What Ferland adds to this intense matchup is his physicality. He isn’t the type of player that’s out on the ice to make friends, he’s out there to make enemies. The Flames are going to have their hands full when it comes to playing against the Canucks. No matter what line Ferland is on, he’ll have an impact offensively and physically.
With Ferland, the Canucks Are Already a Grittier Team
Unfortunately, the Flames don’t seem to have a lot of answers on their roster to match Ferland’s physicality. They chose not to re-sign tough guy Garnet Hathaway, who signed with the Washington Capitals this offseason. Tkachuk and Bennett may have to step up against their former teammate next season when the teams meet. They both have shown they like to play a rough style of hockey, so they’ll be expected to try and get Ferland off his game
The Flames may not have been able to find room for Ferland, but I’m certain they will regret giving him up to a division rival. The two clubs face-off against each other four times in the 2019-20 campaign, so expect a great tilt each time the Canucks and Flames play each other now that the Canucks have their new-found grit.