To me one year contract makes sense perfectly. There is no certainty if he can make the cut... maybe Gainey wants to see what Ferland is capable of before committing further, this also keeps him hungry playing for his extension.
I think its an AHL signing. He faces some big competition with Lapierre and Chipchura.
These guys don't have to clear waivers; Ferland does. I'd say Ferland has a very clear and distinct advantage because of it. It also explains why Ferland's NHL stay was extended during the season. I think he proved then he clearly belongs on a 4th line in the NHL.