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Micheal Ferland is a difficult player to write about at the moment—and not just because autocorrect keeps insisting that his name is spelled wrong. He’s coming off a preseason bout with illness that saw him miss a few exhibition games and shed more than a few pounds – and that’s left fans wondering how much of his poor early-season play is the result of his sickness, and how much of it falls squarely on the shoulders of Ferland himself.

With Ferland in the first year of a four-year UFA contract that pays him an average of $3.5 million a season, the Canucks and their fanbase have to hope that the version of the 27-year-old currently on display is not a finished product – and that he’ll eventually be bring more to the table.

As it stands now, Ferland has been bumped out of the top-six and has put up just two points in nine games – nowhere near enough to justify what seemed like a bargain contract at the time of signing. Though he’ll inevitably get another shot on Bo Horvat’s wing – and maybe even another on the top unit at some point – the question remains as to which role will work best for Ferland as an individual – and what kind of deployment will be best for the team moving forward.

And so, this week we’re asking:

What would you do to break Micheal Ferland out of his slump?

 

Last week, we asked:

What would you do to fix the Canucks’ powerplay?

 

truthseeker:

(Winner of the weekly author’s award for eloquence)

I’m not one to whine about the drop pass. It’s just like any other type of play. If it’s done well it can be effective, and if it’s not done well it isn’t. They’ve made some effective drop passes this season that I’ve seen allow them zone entries, and they’ve had ones that leave you shaking your head because they’re predictable. The key is movement.

Just like the rest of the PP. My problem is actually with how they are using EP and Brock most of the time. They just stand there. They need to create movement. I know they want them in those positions for one-timers, and that’s fine, but even in those positions you need to get moving. Go low, go high, and go in and out. Even if it’s just a few feet. Otherwise the box just collapses and allows them to take passes. The defenders can easily get over to take away the shot. Move around a bit and you’ll create space.

It’s the same thing on the drop passes. Too many times the forwards are just static at the blue line waiting for the trailer to do his thing after the drop pass. Get moving. Draw defenders to you by moving and that will create openings for the puck carrier to get through. Or it will create good passing opportunities.

The whole thing is just way too static.

 

speering major:

Hughes should be on PP1. The only area that you could argue Edler is in better is getting shots through. Well actually, you have two elite shooters in Brock and Pettersson on their off-wings that should be taking shots from higher danger areas. Edler is suited for PP2 in that regard where there aren’t snipers on their off wing.

Hughes is superior in zone entries, passing, moving his feet, walking the line, and jumping up deep in to the zone. The #1 problem with the powerplay is that when they set up they have been static and predictable. Hughes walks the line and threatens to beat defenders. What makes players like Ovi, Laine, and Stamkos extra dangerous is that they aren’t 100% predictable. The team threatens other plays to give them the slight window they need to hammer it home.

It’s comparable to a pitcher throwing to first base. You’re usually not trying to get the guy out. You’re keeping him a tiny bit closer so its just slightly tougher to steal. That edge is important. A player like Hughes can do what teams like the lightning do. Create options and uncertainty that make the D and goalie hesitate a fraction in reading the play. That opens the door for the one-timer everyone in the world knows they want to execute.

 

Ragnarok Ouroboros:

I really like the first line powerplay, it is getting better each game as they build chemistry. Miller is a revelation as a net-front presence screening the goaltender, and that alone will lead to more goals. For the second line powerplay, Hughes and Myers should man the points, Ferland should be the net-front presence since he has the size and snarl. Pearson should man a wing, and include Sutter for the faceoffs, to be replaced by Roussel when he returns.

 

Hockey Bunker:

The powerplay with Brock and Petey is too static. And I fault the players. Miller, who is screening the goalie, moves in and out of the position. Petey and Brock need to move as well and get their sticks between the circles, not in the circle. Not at the same time but when the puck is on the opposite wing.

Personally, I would like Hughes and Myers with Miller, Petey, and Brock. Hughes draws players to him and that frees up the shooters.

He creates space for others.

The second PP can centre around Horvat, Edler, Pearson, and two others.

Or if you like the way Edler and Miller work together, swap Miller and Horvat.

 

Cageyvet:

I agree the PP is too static, and they aren’t always even setting up that shot from a great angle—never mind being a bit far out for my liking at times.

We have the personnel, I’m not sure we have the right coach, we will see. If they don’t get moving their feet more, it’s ultimately on the coach…we all know standing there isn’t optimal, so if Newell Brown and Green continue to allow it to happen, that’s on them. The powerplay may have some success as he’s got it going now, but there’s some creativity that’s not being tapped right now.

 

Holly Wood:

Watching the Leafs/nCapitals right now. On a early Caps powerplay, the Caps broke out five times. The drop pass was utilized on the third one and got them in the Leafs zone, but they quickly lost possession. On the fourth break out, Leafs broke it up in the neutral zone. On the fifth breakout attempt, Leafs again break it up in neutral zone and score. In their case the drop pass at least got them into the Leafs’ end. I think most NHL clubs are using the drop pass because it seems to be the most effective way to get in and set up.

 

TheRealPB:

I think they should keep the personnel as it is for the most part. PP1 with EP and Boeser as the shooters, and Miller retrieving and distributing the puck. Horvat responsible for getting it into the zone and providing a screen, and Edler with the point shot. I’d have the PP2 as QH and Myers responsible for getting the puck in. Hughes as the PPQB, set up Myers for the shot, and Leivo, Ferland, and Pearson or Sutter to retrieve pucks and provide screens.

You can keep the PP1 as the diamond and have PP2 as shots and crash the net. The main change I would make is in the time allotted. Right now, the PP1 eats up 1:30 or more. What I would do is have each unit get one minute. It would give more urgency to their play (certainly for PP1, where they slowly pass it around in static fashion too often). Once/if they lose possession and it gets shot down the ice there’s more challenge in getting it set up; instead if they lose possession after a minute change right then and give PP2 a chance (a real chance, not 30 seconds).