CALGARY, AB -- For left winger Michael Ferland, 2011 has been a year of incredible highs.
Selected in the fifth round (133rd overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Flames, Ferland has shown such growth over the past year that he was invited to Team Canada's selection camp for the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Unfortunately, he and fellow Flames prospect Max Reinhart did not make the cut but simply being included in the camp is a feather in the Swan River, MN native's cap.
"It's just an honour to be invited," Ferland told CalgaryFlames.com. "It's been a good year."
A good year, indeed.
With 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) in 31 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings this season, Ferland sits 11th in WHL scoring and is already just 11 points shy of hitting the career-high he set last season through 56 games in Brandon.
"My linemates are great," the soft-spoken 19 year-old said modestly. "We've really been clicking."
He also just signed his first professional contract, a three-year entry-level deal with the Flames, on Dec. 5.
"It's very exciting to get it done with, a dream come true," Ferland said. "I know me and my agent have been talking with the Flames organization and it's just a great feeling."
At 6-foot-2 and 208 lbs., Ferland is the prototypical power forward. He uses his size to create space in the offensive zone and isn't shy about playing a physical game in all three zones. His quick release often handcuffs goaltenders and he's poised with the puck.
He also isn't afraid to drop the gloves. Last season, his fight card had 12 scraps on it. This year, he has four fights and 38 penalty minutes to his name.
"I play a pretty physical game. I have to in order to be successful - I have to use my size."
Flames general manager Jay Feaster has been extremely impressed with what he has seen in the winger and is looking forward to seeing Ferland continue to progress.
"We are very pleased to have Michael under contract and look forward to watching his continued development in junior hockey.
"Michael looked good in our development camp in July, and had a very solid rookie tournament and NHL training camp in September. We were impressed that he continued to build on those experiences with the Wheat Kings and played his way into the Subway Series last month and ultimately into the Team Canada selection camp."