Into The 2019 NHL Unrestricted Free Agent Class: Micheal Ferland
Carolina Hurricanes Micheal Ferland could interest the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Carolina Hurricanes Micheal Ferland could still interest some teams in free agency.

Unrestricted free agency begins on July 1st. The 2019 class possesses some intrigue. Also, some players stand to make more money and some may take a little less than expected. That is the nature of the business. One of the players who looked promising but dropped was Micheal Ferland.

Micheal Ferland started red hot…

Ferland opened the season making a statement that his 20-20 year with the Calgary Flames was no fluke. He scored seven goals in October and racked up 11 points overall. Playing on the top line allowed him to display his unique set of skills. Ferland hit hard but more importantly created space for players like Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen.

Ferland played just over 16 minutes a night, was seeing solid power-play time and averaged around 3.5 shots per game. His numbers trended up across the board — from power play points to even strength. The balloon had to burst at some point as the winger was so difficult to contain in that first month.

Now, that answer was a resounding yes given the unsustainable statistics. Unfortunately for Micheal Ferland, the season turned from up and down to a battle for his health.

Then injuries and inconsistency plagued Micheal Ferland

Again, Ferland plays a no-holds-barred style of hockey that lends itself to getting banged up. Also, inconsistency and some regression were bound to occur as well. Both came in different ways and levels.

While his ice time began to dip below 15 minutes a night, Ferland still potted four goals in November while still averaging above two shots a game. The writing was on the wall as nagging injuries began to surface. First, he hurt himself in a November game against Chicago then missed a few weeks after getting knocked out versus Montreal. Ferland came back too soon then was out several more games.

By January, Ferland righted himself and enjoyed a solid two-month span of sustained offensive play. In 23 games, the left-winger totaled 18 points and at times, his ice time spiked a bit to include some power-play time again. Things appeared hopeful and then the bottom fell out in a big way. Micheal Ferland scored zero goals the rest of the regular season (5 points in the final 18 contests). His ice time dropped to just below 13 minutes a night.

Ferland’s relative possession metrics were okay in Carolina with an average of 1.5% lower than the average. Unfortunately for Ferland, the playoffs were even worse after taking a hard hit from Tom Wilson in round one. The left-winger missed almost four weeks and never got on track — again seeing bottom six ice time. At one time, he looked headed for a nice payday.

What does it all mean for Micheal Ferland now? 

According to Evolving Wild, the forward’s projected salary is approximately four years at an AAV of about $4.18 million. Unfortunately, the late-season swoon hurts his chances at a bigger payday. Maybe, Carolina or another team will be a bit generous considering Micheal Ferland’s style of play. On the other hand, that methodology could backfire.

Then, we present Sean Tierney’s charts from Tableau. Ferland carries some intriguing numbers. For one, his points/60 is right around Andrei Svechnikov and Justin Williams, which may surprise some.

Also, note that performance usage is right on the border of just right. It did not seem like this was accurate during the beginning of the season. Alternatively, now that things have evened out, it makes some sense. Again, Ferland’s play is unsustainable often and leads to dangerous outcomes — including injuries. Can he be durable enough to warrant more than a three or four-year deal?

It is the main reason why that the forward should not get a $5 million AAV in his next deal. Micheal Ferland plays like a wrecking ball that forgets some are bigger than him. Occasionally, he must learn to dial things back and use the skills he has. That will prolong his career as well as his production.

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