Among their many AHL signings on July 1st, the Oilers made a particularly interesting signing that likely didn’t catch the attention of many fans. The club signed Brian Ferlin to a one-year deal shortly after free agency opened, adding another forward to a weak group below the NHL level.
Ferlin is familiar with GM Peter Chiarelli, who drafted him in Boston during the 2011 NHL entry draft. Ferlin developed in the NCAA after being drafted, and eventually made it all the way up to the NHL for a seven game trial during the 2014-15 season.
Injuries struck shortly after however, and Ferlin has yet to return to the top tier in pro hockey. In fact, Ferlin only played in two AHL games a year ago, missing the rest of the season with injury. In all, Ferlin has only played in 25 games the last two years, all coming at the AHL level.
So…Just Who Is Brian Ferlin?:
At 6’2” and 209 pounds, Ferlin is a bigger forward who can play a heavier game. That is why he was appealing to the Bruins and why he likely appealed to Chiarelli again this summer. His offensive numbers certainly don’t pop, 20 points in 53 AHL games is his career high, but he clearly does some things well.
For a deeper look at Ferlin, we turn to The Hockey News as we have all series long.
|Owns prototypical size for the wing position at the National Hockey League level, plus the ability to produce good offensive numbers at lower levels.|
|The jury is still out on whether he’ll be able to translate his production to the NHL game. Also lacks some consistency in his physical play.|
|Big, depth winger.|
What Can We Expect?:
Realistically we shouldn’t expect too much from Ferlin this coming season. After essentially two seasons without playing much hockey, it’s going to be tough for Ferlin to push for an NHL job or even a full-time AHL spot in Bakersfield. It’s likely he’s going to see some time in ECHL Wichita, especially right at the start.
I think a preseason game or two would be a nice treat for Ferlin to get back into the swing of things, and then a healthy season where he can reestablish himself as a professional player. If he can do that, Ferlin could earn himself a full-time spot in the Bakersfield lineup by the end of the year and could be on Edmonton’s radar in a more long-term capacity.
A successful year would be one in which Ferlin stays healthy, shows well in the ECHL (if he starts there) and works his way back into being an AHL regular. This is a big time project for Peter Chiarelli, but he’s seen something in this player that he really likes. We shouldn’t discount that at all.