The Vancouver Canucks Couldn’t Beat Him, So Micheal Ferland is Joining ’Em Instead
The former Calgary Flame and Carolina Hurricane returns to the scene of the crime.
July 10, 2019
It’s pretty clear that the Vancouver Canucks intend on doing whatever possible in order to make a return to the playoffs this season.
That’s included trading away a future first-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for veteran forward J.T. Miller and signing defenceman Tyler Myers to a five-year deal worth $6 million a season.
So it makes sense that, after a long, four-season absence from said playoffs, that the Canucks would turn to one of the players who was a major factor in their 2015 first-round exit.
That would be Micheal Ferland, at the time a rookie winger for the Calgary Flames who absolutely terrorized the veteran Canucks, scoring four points and racking up 21 penalty minutes in six games. He also got under the skin of former Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa, in particular.
“That ‘Ferklund,’ or whatever his name is, was running around trying to get something going,” said Bieksa at the time.
Well, everyone in Vancouver knows his name now.
The Canucks signed Ferland today to a four-year contract worth $3.5 million annually.
Is this a desperate move from general manager Jim Benning, who probably knows he absolutely has to make the playoffs this season, as many have reported?
He is in the last year of his contract, after all. And after running Trevor Linden out of town, there may not be much rope left for Benning to cling onto.
We do know that Benning places the utmost importance on performing in the playoffs. It wasn’t long ago (a couple weeks, in fact), that he was pointing at the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues as an example that teams need to be big in order to win.
He also said that “good teams win with players aged 26 to 35.” (Not really true.) And, of course, there’s his incessant need to compare players he signs to former Boston Bruins he won the Cup with during his time there as assistant general manager, even when they are nothing like those players.
So it’s playoffs or bust for the Canucks. Does Ferland help them achieve that goal?
He certainly doesn’t hurt. He’s a physical forward who can put the puck in the net (he’s reached 40 points in each of the last two seasons, which would have been good for fourth on the Canucks). And he’s still on the good side of 30 for a couple years.
The Manitoba native is certainly hard to play against, and should be a forechecking force for the Canucks. It’s not hard to see him and Bo Horvat becoming a very effective duo on both sides of the puck. Nor is it hard to see him becoming a fan favourite. Vancouver fans have long favoured physical players, and they’ll get that here.
In some ways, Ferland is exactly what many Vancouverites have been hoping Jake Virtanen would eventually become. (And this is probably evidence that the Canucks don’t think Virtanen can get there.)
He’s also been plagued by concussions in recent years, which is scary when one considers the long-ish commitment the Canucks are giving him.
This deal will have an impact on the rest of the roster, as well. As it stands, the Canucks have just over $5 million left under the salary cap, with star Brock Boeser still yet to sign a contract. They also have way too many wingers.
So there will be some activity from the team. Maybe it’s Loui Eriksson and an asset (Virtanen would seem the obvious choice) going to a team with some cap space?
And maybe it all adds up to rearranging deck chairs on Jim Benning’s Titanic.
The Canucks should be better this year—the additions (and the jettisoning of players like Erik Gudbranson and Michael Del Zotto) make sure of that.
Good enough to make the playoffs?
But if we had to guess?
Down goes the ship.