|Michael Ferland was on the ice with the Brandon Wheat|
Kings on Boxing Day
Just over a year ago, he signed a three-year entry level contract with the Calgary Flames in the midst of a fantastic season with the Brandon Wheat Kings have saw him finish 2011-2012 with 47 goals and 96 points in 68 games.
He was invited to the Canadian Junior Team’s Selection Camp and, after being a fifth round pick of Calgary in the 2010 NHL Draft, seemed ready for the next step of his hockey career.
Today, Michael Ferland was back on the ice with the Brandon Wheat Kings as the club practiced for the first time in preparation for the start of the second half.
And, all indications are #27 will be in uniform when the Wheat Kings host the Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday night (7:35 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).
“I hope Calgary and my agent figure it would, and I hope I’ll be able to play here on the 28th against Moose Jaw,” said Ferland after the Boxing Day night practice with the Wheat Kings.
Ferland has dressed in just seven games with the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat and had a three-game stint with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies just before Christmas, but has been a frequent healthy scratch in his first professional season.
It’s been a frustrating first half of the season for the 6-foot-2, 208 pounder to the point where he felt he needed to be sent back to junior in order to get back to playing games.
“It’s already Christmastime, and I’ve only played seven games. I’ve talked to my agent, I’ve talked to Kelly (Wheat Kings’ GM Kelly McCrimmon), I’ve talked with the Flames’ GM and it came down to trying to come back for another year of junior,” said Ferland, “It’s only going to get harder to crack Abbotsford’s lineup with the team they have so, you know, I’m just excited to get back to playing some hockey games here.”
Ferland’s agent is currently trying to work with the Flames in order to have him transferred back to the Wheat Kings for the balance of the season.
“Michael’s career is the priority in this process,” said Ferland’s agent Jason Davidson in a text, “It has to be what is best of his development.”
Ferland has played a combined ten games in the AHL and ECHL so the first year of his entry-level deal has been burned, and his return to Brandon would create a roster bulge for the Wheat Kings.
Brandon could have four 20-year olds on their roster (Ferland, Nick Buonassisi, Tyler Yaworski and Ryley Miller) and would have 14 days after Ferland’s official return to get back to the WHL limit of three.
That 14-day limit would almost coincide with the WHL trade deadline of January 10th.
Provided everything gets worked out and Ferland is, indeed, a Brandon Wheat Kings again in the next 24-48 hours, I asked the Brandon product what he felt he could add to the 2012-2013 edition of the Wheat Kings.
“I want to be a leader on and off the ice,” said Ferland, “There are a lot of young guys in that room and I’m a 20-year old guy this year so I have to take care of them on and off the ice and just be a better person.”
Chaff...F Quintin Lisoway also practiced with the Wheat Kings on Boxing Day and will be up with the team for at least the next week...F Jack Palmer, who missed the last eight games before the Christmas break with an upper body injury, practiced without restrictions on Wednesday...F Tyrel Seaman (suspected concussion), F Jayce Hawryluk (Team Western), F John Quenneville (Team Pacific) and F Alessio Bertaggia (Swiss Jr. Team) and assistant coach David Anning (Team Western) were also absent from practice on Boxing Day...Bertaggia and Team Switzerland play Latvia Thursday in their first round-robin game at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship...former Brandon Wheat King Bruno Mraz was pointless, -1 and had five shots in Slovakia’s 3-2 overtime loss to Russia at the WJHC on Boxing Day.