When the Vancouver Canucks signed Micheal Ferland back in July, immediate talk surrounded the potential of him joining the top line alongside 2019 NHL Rookie of the Year Elias Pettersson.
On Friday, Canucks fans in attendance at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre got their first glimpse of what could be two-thirds of the top line come the regular season as the 2019 Canucks Training Camp got underway in Victoria.
Ferland and Pettersson were joined on the right side by Reid Boucher, the Utica Comets leading scorer last season.
Although there weren't a lot of drills that involved the line working together, there was enough for both Ferland and Pettersson to take notice of one another.
Video: CAMP | Ferland on Day One Ice Session
"He is unbelievable," said Ferland on Pettersson. "It's funny with those skill guys, enough is never enough with them. You see him in every drill and he just wants to be the best out there. Playing with Johnny (Gaudreau) and (Sebastian) Aho, and those guys, enough is never enough. They always want more and more and Pettersson is the exact same way."
As for Pettersson, he's excited to add a physical presence like Ferland to his line.
Video: CAMP | Pettersson on Day One Ice Session
"He's a great power forward with a good shot," said Pettersson. "It's hard to tell when we haven't played a five-on-five game, but I have played against him last season and he was really good. He is really strong on the puck and he can hit and knock over guys a lot. He can win a lot of puck battles by using his strong physicality. He is a great addition to our team, and I am excited to play with him."
Ferland joins the Canucks after posting 40 points (17-23-40) in 71 games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. The year prior he found the back of the net 21 times and registered 41 points with the Calgary Flames.
Entering his sixth season in the NHL, the product of Swan River, Manitoba, has the experience and maturity to know that just because he potentially could open the season on the top line, it doesn't mean he has to adjust the way he plays.
"One thing I definitely am not going to change is I am just going to come in and be physical and not try and do too much, not think too much, just go out there and play hockey," said Ferland. "I have been in the league for a couple of years now and I think when you get bumped up in the lineup you start trying to do too much and I think the best thing for me is to stick to my game."
Adjusting to his third consecutive training camp with a different head coach has not been an issue for him, either.
"Honestly, a lot of the teams play a similar style now," said Ferland. "Everyone wants to play fast and they want the defencemen to be up in your face. There are a couple little changes, but nothing crazy."
The group hit the ice for just under an hour on Friday morning, took a quick break for an ice clean, then returned to the ice, where things ramped up, ending with quite the hard skate.
"That was a tough one," said Ferland. "I had a good summer so that helped. Once I signed here, I heard about how hard training camp was going to be. It was definitely one of the hardest skates I have had."
The 2019 Canucks Training Camp continues Saturday in Victoria.