With their first playoff appearance after just six years removed, the Calgary Flames continue to develop in the right direction with their current system of prospects, coaches and management in place. One bright spot this past season was Micheal Ferland, who was one of six players picked by Calgary in the 2010 NHL Entry draft. Ferland provided a physical presence during the first round of the playoffs, along with timely offensive contributions to help eliminate the Vancouver Canucks.
Along with Ferland, the Flames selected Max Reinhart, John Ramage, and Bill Arnold in the 2010 draft class, which is developing into a hard-working group of prospects that are starting to contribute and make an impact at the NHL level.
3rd round, 64th overall: Max Reinhart, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
NHL Games Played: 23
As a promising scoring center whose father Paul was a legendary Flame, Max Reinhart drew attention from the Calgary Flames and was selected with the team’s first pick in the 2010 draft. During the 2010-11 season, Reinhart led the Kootenay Ice with 79 points in 71 games and eventually went on to win the WHL Championship and a berth to the Memorial Cup, where the Ice fell to the Mississauga St. Mike’s Majors (OHL) in the semi-finals. The following season, Reinhart had an opportunity to play alongside his brother Sam Reinhart (BUF), as both finished the season as the top two scorers on the team, with Max recording 78 points in 61 games.
Reinhart made his professional debut in 2012 as he suited up for the Abbotsford Heat (AHL) and recorded 21 points in 67 games. The BC native also received his first NHL experience as he appeared in 11 games for the Calgary Flames and recorded three points in the process. In his second AHL season, Reinhart responded by leading the Heat in scoring with 63 points in 66 games. However Reinhart took a step back in the 2014-15 season with a slow start and recorded just 39 points in 69 games.
Given the amount of center prospects the Flames have accumulated over the past few seasons, Reinhart finds himself in a competitive battle for ice time in the upcoming season. However, Reinhart still possesses the skill set, passion, and the NHL-bloodlines to elevate his game and stand out as a viable option for the team.
3rd round, 73rd overall: Joey Leach, D, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
NHL Games Played: 0
With their second pick in the draft, the Flames selected Reinhart’s teammate from Kootenay, Joey Leach. The 6’3 defender primarily played a shutdown role for the Ice, however he also demonstrated an offensive side to his game recording 134 points in 274 career games with Kootenay. Leach remained part of the Flames’ organization for the 2011-12 season, however he was not signed by Calgary that summer and became an unrestricted free agent. Leach has gone on to play for the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL and been a productive member of that squad.
The Flames took another son of a Flame with their first fourth-round pick. John’s father Rob of course was part of the Flames’ 1989 Stanley Cup winning squad and enjoyed a long and well-decorated playing career. The development of John Ramage continues to steadily improve since he was drafted in 2010. As one of the main defenders and leaders for the Wisconsin Badgers, Ramage was appointed team captain in his junior and senior seasons. During his four years at Wisconsin, Ramage compiled 53 points in 157 games. Ramage also had an opportunity to play for Team USA in the 2010 and 2011 World Junior Championships, winning a gold and bronze medal respectively.
In the 2013-14 season, Ramage made his professional career debut suiting up for the Abbotsford Heat for 50 games before he was assigned to the Alaska Aces (ECHL) at the end of the season to help in their playoff run. Ramage provided impressive contributions from the blue line and showed boosted confidence in the offensive side of his game as he recorded 13 points in 20 games and helped the Aces win the Kelly Cup. This past season, Ramage continued the offensive trend in his game as he recorded 15 points in 57 games with the Adirondack Flames. Ramage made his NHL debut on April 11th against the Winnipeg Jets.
The Flames utilized their fourth pick to select Bill Arnold from the USHL. The then 18-year-old center indicated he would attend Boston College where he would center one of the most potent lines in the NCAA, which included fellow prospect Johnny Gaudreau.
During the 2011-12 season, Arnold helped Boston College win a Beanpot Championship, Hockey East Championship and a Frozen Four Championship. Over the course of three seasons at Boston College, Arnold compiled 91 points in 119 games before turning pro. Arnold and Gaudreau had a special opportunity as teammates and friends to sign their first professional contracts on March 30th, 2014, and followed up the experience by appearing in their first NHL game on April 13th, 2014. The 2014-15 season was the first full season for Arnold in the professional ranks, where he finished fifth in team scoring with 38 points in 61 games with the Adirondack Flames.
5th round, 133rd overall: Micheal Ferland, LW, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Status: NHL Player
NHL Games Played: 33
It has been a rollercoaster ride for Micheal Ferland since being drafted in 2010. Ferland initially had three impressive seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings as one of the more physical players on the team who could also put up points on the score sheet. In the season after being drafted, Ferland recorded a career-high 47 goals and 96 points in 68 games, and was rewarded by signing a three-year contract with Calgary in December 2011.
The power forward battled through the 2012 season as he started his professional career in the AHL for seven games before being sent down to the ECHL for a short stint and eventually returning to Brandon. Ferland saw limited action with the Wheat Kings before being traded to the Saskatoon Blades where he appeared in 26 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury. The Manitoba native would suffer a similar fate in 2013 as he appeared in his second professional season which ended prematurely due to another season-ending knee injury.
However with strong determination and hard work, Ferland recovered and returned to action for the 2014-15 season, which has been his most productive and impressive season as he appeared in his first NHL games of his career. Ferland also scored his first NHL goal. The 23-year-old forward demonstrated an excellent two-way game and provided the physical toughness the Flames are trying to build around. Ferland finished with five points in 26 games with Calgary and 15 points in 32 games with Adirondack.
With their final pick in the 2010 draft, Calgary selected Patrick Holland, their fourth player from the WHL. Holland had an impressive career with the Tri-City Americans and recorded a career high 109 points in 72 games during the 2011-12 season. However, Holland’s tenure with the Flames was short-lived and two years later, he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens along with Rene Bourque in exchange for Mike Cammalleri, goaltender prospect Karri Ramo and a fifth-round pick in 2012, which Calgary used to select defenseman Ryan Culkin.
Player of the month
Ferland was a key figure in the first-round elimination of the Vancouver Canucks with his ability to play an agitating style of game while limiting the time he spent in the penalty box. The 22-year-old got under the skin of the Canucks defensive unit, in particular Kevin Bieksa, which helped open up the game for his teammates. Ferland was a game-changer in the series and provided a valuable spark for the Flames, especially in game six, where he recorded two goals and one assist as Calgary eliminated Vancouver to advance to the second round against the Anaheim Ducks. However early in the first game against Anaheim, Ferland sustained a hit and left after just over five minutes of action. Ferland appeared in two more games against the Ducks and recorded one goal in the series before being eliminated. In his first NHL playoff experience, Ferland finished with five points in nine games.