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Expectations heightened with Ferland

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- With a freshly signed two-year contract signed, the expectations on Micheal Ferland are pretty simple.

Bring much of the same. And more.

“For me, what you saw in the playoffs is what you kind of expect,” assistant general manager Craig Conroy said. “I think he is going to score more goals. He’s got one of the best shots of seen when he was in the minors. He’s a big power forward that can score. He needs some confidence. He needs to get used to the NHL. The speed, the size of the guys. Where he was bigger than a lot of the guys, especially in junior, and now everybody is big and fast and good.

“To see him come in and try to figure out what he needs to do to be an effective NHL player, and he did that in the playoffs, now we need to get him to do it consistently throughout the year of an 80-game schedule.”

Ferland played 26 regular season games with Calgary last season, scoring two goals and added three assists along with 16 penalty minutes.

But it was in the playoffs that he shone brightest, recording three goals and five points -- and a team-leading 50 hits -- in nine Stanley Cup playoff skates.

He’ll try to replicate the style that made him a cult hero, at least for the playoff run, last spring.

“Keep my game simple,” Ferland said. “Finish my checks and that’s pretty much the main thing. Let the other stuff fall into place. The big thing is to keep moving my feet north and south and finish my checks.”

It’s easier said than done.

Ferland was injured in the playoffs using just that style, missing two games and limiting his effectiveness in a second-round series with the Anaheim Ducks. The Flames eventually fell in five games.

“It’s hard to play like that,” Conroy said. “It’s going to be a wear and tear on his body. Maybe he won’t be able to do that every game, but consistently you want to see that kind of effort. Finishing your checks, taking pucks hard to the net, doing those little things, blocking shots. Just getting more consistency night in and night out.

“I don’t want him to pick his spots. When you know a guy is only going to come now and then, guys know that in the league. When you’re coming every time, that’s when guys get a little ‘woah’, they get rid of the puck, or they let you go first in getting the puck. I think right now, we need him to show that he can do what he did in the playoffs night in and night out over the course of an 82-game schedule.

“Is it going to be overnight? Maybe not. But in my mind, do I think he can do it? Yes I do.”

The ask on Ferland’s physicality has been established.

The expectation on his offence has increased, too.

And for Conroy, it’s more a matter of when Ferland can deliver. Not if.

“I do see him as a 20-goal guy,” Conroy said. “Maybe not this year, but I do see him; with his shot, where he goes to the hard areas, if he gets some power play time, he’s really good in front of the net, he’s got a big body, strong hard to move, and for me, he’s tough. As he gets that reputation of being hard to play against, he’s going to get a little bit more room, hopefully that will free up some space in front of the net where he’s going to score. It doesn’t take much. It’s on his stick and then it’s in the back of the net.

“Is he going to do it this year? Maybe. Maybe not. But I see it in his repertoire.”

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