Flames plan to start year with the Ferland, Monahan, Gaudreau line

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The Calgary Flames signed restricted free agent Micheal Ferland to a two-year contract this week and seem really excited about his potential in the coming seasons, with general manager Brad Treliving saying (via Postmedia’s Kristen Odland) “the sky is the limit” for him going forward.

He also added that the team plans on starting training camp with him skating on a line alongside star forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, and then they will go from there.

It’s an interesting mix because Gaudreau and Monahan are high-skill players (two of the the best and most productive in the league) while Ferland is more of a bull in a china shop kind of forward that hits everything that he can.

But he also has some skill to his game (he did score 15 goals this past season) and has worked well with that duo in the past.

In 2016-17, for example, they spent more than 250 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time together and were one of the Flames’ most impactful lines, outscoring teams by a 16-10 margin and controlling the shot attempt differential. In close to 400 minutes over the past two seasons it’s a 21-16 goal edge with a 52 percent Corsi for that line (data via Puckalytics). Given the success it certainly makes sense to start the year trying it out.

Expectations in Calgary are going to be through the roof this season. Not only because they have a promising young core coming back from a playoff appearance, because they went out this summer and picked up two key pieces in defenseman Travis Hamonic in an effort to build a Nashville-style top-four on defense that can control the game, but also because they went out and picked up Mike Smith to hopefully solidify their goaltending position.