7:19 PM: The Flames have officially announced the two-year contract worth a total of $3.5MM.
4:36PM: The Calgary Flames and Micheal Ferland are working on a two-year deal that would pay the restricted free agent $3.5MM total according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. With his arbitration hearing set for July 22nd, the two sides have just over a week to work something out or have to live with an arbitrator’s decision.
A two-year deal would take the 25-year old Ferland to unrestricted free agency, which is why the team can keep the cap hit so low. Though he doesn’t have much of a track record, Ferland found some solid success last season in his limited chances with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, scoring 15 goals and 25 points despite playing less than 12 minutes a night.
That success comes with an added physical presence and a good amount of defensive awareness, making him an interesting option that can play up and down the lineup. With the Flames still having plenty of wing options for the top six, and bringing Kris Versteeg back, Ferland can again slot in as a depth option and play to his strengths away from top competition.
The team still has to make decisions on Sam Bennett and Curtis Lazar, both of whom are ineligible for arbitration this summer. If they want to lock up Bennett long-term, it would eat up a fair bit of their cap space even coming off a down season. The former fourth-overall pick still has plenty of potential, and buying out free agent years wouldn’t come cheap.
That said, Ferland’s deal leaves them with enough room to sign both RFAs and even make another addition if they so chose. After acquiring Travis Hamonic, Mike Smith and Eddie Lack and re-signing Versteeg and Michael Stone the Flames are poised to take a long run at the Stanley Cup this season. Players like Ferland are integral to any contending team, able to move up the lineup if injuries happen and grind out long playoff series with their in-your-face style.