Canes’ Ferland can’t ignore persistent trade speculation as deadline approaches

Carolina Hurricanes’ Micheal Ferland (79) waits for a face-off against the Ottawa Senators during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
Carolina Hurricanes’ Micheal Ferland (79) waits for a face-off against the Ottawa Senators during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker) AP

Until the NHL trade deadline passes, Carolina Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland probably won’t be able to rest easy.

There is too much speculation, too much guesswork going on, in the media, on social media. Many teams could use a player like Ferland. So, too, the Hurricanes.

There’s a lot of outside noise and Ferland says he hears it. How could he not?

“Yeah, it’s tough obviously seeing your name all over the place and not sure what’s going to happen,” Ferland said Thursday. “I think we’ve put ourselves in a good spot. I hope I stay here.

“I’d like to get a deal done obviously. Like I said, we’ve put ourselves in a good spot in trying to get into the playoffs and I’d like to stay here and help this team.”

The Canes traded for Ferland, defenseman Dougie Hamilton and defensive prospect Adam Fox in a deal with Calgary completed during the 2018 NHL Draft, sending forward Elias Lindholm and defenseman Noah Hanifin to the Flames. Ferland, in the final year of his contract, is due to become an unrestricted free agent, if unsigned, on July 1.

The Canes could look to trade Ferland before the Feb. 25 deadline. They could sign him to an extension. They could play out the season and look to re-sign him before July 1. All are options.

Canes general manager Don Waddell said the team could treat Ferland as its “rental piece” rather than seeking to trade for someone else while giving up assets.

Asked if he has gotten any indication about management’s plans, Ferland said, “Not really. I talked a little bit when I first got here and haven’t really talked much since I got here. So that’s about it.”

The Canes recently signed forward Teuvo Teravainen to a five-year, $27 million extension. Ferland and his agent, Jason Davidson of Thunder Creek Sports Management, might have similar numbers in mind -- Ferland has a $1.8 million salary this season -- or want to go higher. Davidson, contacted Thursday, declined to comment.

Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said from the day of the trade that Ferland would offer what has generally been lacking in the lineup -- a tough, pugnacious forward who also has some good offensive skills. Ferland, 26, then scored six goals in the Canes’ first nine games of the season, playing on a line with center Sebastian Aho and Teravainen.

It hasn’t been a completely smooth ride, however. A concussion kept Ferland out of some December games and some lower-back issues more recently affected his play and forced him to miss a few games, although the NHL All-Star Game break and bye week offered enough time away to bring him back refreshed.

Ferland helped the Canes (29-22-6) cap a 4-1-0 road trip Tuesday with a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Named the game’s first star, he scored 16 seconds into the third period for a 1-1 tie, then later set up a power-play goal by Justin Williams and an even-strength score by Teravainen.

Since the Canes traded for Nino Niederreiter, Brind’Amour has used him on Aho’s line with Williams, with good results. Lucas Wallmark has centered Ferland and Teravainen.

“It’s been good,” Ferland said. “It has been tough getting it all into your game. The way I try to do it is if my hands aren’t there, I’ll be physical. If my legs aren’t there, I’ll be physical and get in the game that way.

“It’s tough to do it all at once, to be physical and play a skill game. Whatever’s not working, switch it up.”

New Jersey Devils right wing Kurtis Gabriel (39) and Carolina Hurricanes left wing Micheal Ferland (79) fight during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) Julio Cortez AP

Either way, the 6-1, 217-pound winger, who has a linebacker’s build, can make his presence felt. Ferland’s 15 goals this season include three game-winners, and he has 16 assists and a plus-11 rating in 48 games.

As for being physical, according to the Canes, Ferland has more hits (306) than any player in the NHL who has scored at least 35 goals since the start of the 2017-18 season.

Ferland said he was dealing with a lot of unknowns when he moved to Raleigh with his wife, Kayleigh, and their young daughter, Brynlee. The Canadian was a long way away from his hometown of Swan River, Manitoba. Drafted by the Flames, he was joining a new team and organization.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I got here and it’s been unbelievable,” he said. “It’s beautiful here and the weather obviously is great. It’s been fun coming to the rink every day with every game being so important now. I’d love to stay here.”

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In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.