The Toronto Maple Leafs are not done improving their team and could look to target a player such as Micheal Ferland by the trade deadline.
One of the most respected NHL insiders, Sportsnet‘s Elliotte Friedman, commented on Hockey Night In Canada on Saturday night that the Leafs have been linked with Micheal Ferland and are at least looking at players of his kind of mould.
Ferland, currently playing for the Carolina Hurricanes, is having a solid season with 14 goals and 28 total points in 46 regular season appearances entering Sunday’s action.
What makes Ferland’s base numbers more impressive is the fact they are coming with him playing just 14:48 on average per game – currently the same amount of time as William Nylander and roughly 30 seconds more on average than Connor Brown.
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The 26-year-old plays a physical game that Mike Babcock would no doubt relish having, with the 6-foot-1, 217 pounds winger putting up an impressive 133 hits already this season.
In Ferland’s five-year career, he has 731 hits and has played 296 regular season games – averaging roughly 2.5 hits per game.
Since arriving in Toronto, Muzzin’s physical game has been applauded by fans and has given the Leafs another aspect to their game that was somewhat lacking previously.
Having been knocked out of the playoffs by the Boston Bruins, who are notorious for their physical style, some believe the Toronto Maple Leafs need to ‘toughen up’, and the fact they are looking at a Ferland-type player could suggest they feel the same, at least a little bit.
Ferland does, however, have solid offensive production over the past three seasons and has been proven to help drive play in offensive situations, with a 54.8 percent Corsi rating while starting in the offensive zone 60.5 percent of the time.
The fifth round (133rd overall) selection by the Calgary Flames in 2010 is carving out a solid career in the NHL with his physical play and ability to also contribute offensively, with 50 goals scored over the past three seasons.
It might be difficult to persuade the Hurricanes to part with Ferland, with the impending unrestricted free agent also having a very low cap hit of just $1.75 million this season.
Ferland could be looking for a decent pay rise after this season and would more than likely only be a rental for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he may still be worth considering ahead of the trade deadline.
The Leafs appear quite content to ‘go for it’ this season, with a cap crunch coming up next year that may mean the team losing one or two of their current pieces.
Toronto is currently on pace to break their best season points total record, which they set last season, reaching between 107 to 108 points if they keep up their current pace.
Acquiring a rental player such as Ferland could be worth looking into, but it should not come at too high a price – with Muzzin already costing the team their 2019 first round pick and a couple of prospects.
The trade deadline is just 15 days away, so more and more stories are likely to emerge linking the Leafs with particular players, but this one certainly seems to make sense if the price is right.
Leafs Nation, what do you think of the potential link to Ferland? Would you be interested in having him join the team, or would he come at too high a price? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.