With less than 24 hrs to go before the dealine, word is the Leafs are one of the teams who might part with a first-round pick for a few weeks of Nick Foligno’s services.
Most people would have to admit that Foligno was very effective against the Leafs in the Qualifying Round last year. But that hasn’t exactly made him popular with Leafs fans. However, as a power forward who can play centre or wing, he is exactly what the Leafs always say they want, right before they draft another speedy winger under six feet. The theory goes that you can always buy your toughness, not that Foligno doesn’t have more to him than just that, but this price is painful.
Foligno is 33, average sized for an NHLer, and with a long history on both the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets. In 2010-2011, when Jason Spezza led the Seanators in scoring with 84 points, Folicgo was fifth with 47. Spezza isn’t that man anymore, and neither is Foligno, but he’s not a fourth liner like Spezza is now.
These days at five-on-five, Foligno is better defensively, but doesn’t lack all offence like most players of his type. On the Blue Jackets, his power play contributions haven’t been great, but the Leafs aren’t looking for goals from him there. He has a genuine talent to limit the shots against by quality and quantity, and he sure knows how to forecheck. Foligno plays a top-six role on the Blue Jackets in recent years, barely shading out of top-line minutes. On the Leafs he might show up as a winger on one of the top two lines, or he might make over the third line into a realistic shutdown line.
Listen to Back to Excited today, and hear Arvind and Fulemin talk about how Riley Nash accomplishing that is the dream scenario we likely can’t really expect. Foligno could do it for real, but not at the price of a sixth round pick.
Rumoured prices and interest are always just reports of what’s happening now, and there is no quarantee that Kyle Dubas will pay this price. Likely whoever he gets will be considered too expensive by Leafs fans.
Speaking of expensive. Foligno’s cap hit this season — he is, of course, an expiring UFA — is $5.5 million, and the Leafs don’t have that much LTIR room. They would need to pay either the Blue Jackets and/or a third-party team to retain salary as well.
Is it worth it? If he was 25, we’d all say yes, but then if he was 25, he’d cost a lot more than a first-round pick we all desperately want to be the 32nd overall.
Say it with me: We’ll see where this goes.