The Vancouver Canucks have signed another free agent forward, inking Micheal Ferland to a four-year, $14MM deal. The contract carries a $3.5MM cap hit, and will have a no-movement clause in the first two years before transitioning to a partial no-trade clause. Canucks GM Jim Benning released a short statement on his new forward:
Micheal is an energetic player that drives the play and can contribute in all three zones. He’ll make our team harder to play against on a nightly basis and we’re excited that he’ll call Vancouver home.
Ferland, 27, was the highest forward remaining on our Top 50 UFA list, coming in at number 11 just ahead of Ryan Dzingel. His versatility and effectiveness over thel ast two seasons made him an attractive target for many teams, though it does seem as though his market was shrunk somewhat given how long it took for him to sign. A deal with Vancouver represents a return to the Pacific Division where he started his career with the Calgary Flames, and a reward for a ton of hard work to this point.
Originally a fifth-round pick of the Flames in 2010, Ferland didn’t catch on as a full-time NHL player until 2015 when he used his physical play to establish himself in Calgary’s bottom-six. Within a few years he was playing alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan for long stretches on the top line, scoring 21 goals and 41 points in the 2017-18 season. That summer he was flipped to the Carolina Hurricanes as part of the bigger Elias Lindholm–Dougie Hamilton deal, bringing a new dimension to their attack.
In Carolina he got off to a blistering start and was setting himself up for a huge payday this summer. Through his first 54 games he had 17 goals and looked like he was well on his way to a career-high. Unfortunately, Ferland didn’t score a single goal in the 17 games after the trade deadline and was held to just a single assist in seven postseason contests. Dealing with various injuries, he finished the year with 40 points but is still a potential top-six add to a club like Vancouver.
After showing that he could keep up with top players in Calgary, there’s good reason to believe he might get the same opportunity with Vancouver. The team has Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson anchoring their top two lines, and Ferland could slide in on one of their wings to give them a little more physicality. The interesting thing will be where he fits in with relation to J.T. Miller, who is another big-bodied forward that can play either wing and add a little punch.
The addition of Ferland though raises more questions with how the Vancouver roster will shake out after training camp. The team already had 13 forwards on one-way contracts plus Pettersson and Adam Gaudette on their entry-level deals. That’s not even including restricted free agents Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin, at least the former of which will be assured a spot on opening day. There may be more moves coming for Vancouver, who have been looking for a landing spot for Loui Eriksson for some time and are set to pay him a hefty bonus on July 15 according to David Alter.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet was first to report a deal was close.