If I were to ask you, the reader, who you believed to be Ottawa's second most productive player proportionate to their even-strength ice-time, I'd imagine that you would not have a hard time coming up some familiar names.
Nope, he's first.
Ottawa's newest member of the 30-goals in one season club, Milan Michalek?
The correct answer is Nick Foligno.
Yes, with 2.45 points per 60 minutes of 5v5 ice-time, Foligno trails only Spezza (2.69) but ranks ahead of Michalek (2.16), Alfredsson (2.13) and Erik Karlsson (1.71) in this metric.
If you're taken aback by that. Don't worry. You're not alone.
This website has never admittedly been ardent in its support of Foligno as a top six forward. Instead, we have furthered the argument that he's just a good third line player who can contribute some modest offensive totals. Over the years, whether it's been through our podcast interviews or discussions with readers, there has always been a sect of the fan base that believes that Foligno still has top six upside.
Although I feel like some of Foligno's even strength numbers are inflated somewhat -- his four empty net goals are tied for the league lead and I definiteley remember one of Foligno's assists coming on a Turris empty netter -- in light of how many opportunities some other unproductive players like Bobby Butler and Colin Greening (prior to last night's game obviously), Foligno's consistent exclusion from the top two lines makes for worthwhile conversation. In fact, with 10:42 of time-on-ice last night, he had the second lowest ice-time amongst Senators forwards.
What is striking about Foligno's even-strength production is that the majority of it has come away from a few of Ottawa's best forwards. Maybe Paul MacLean is doing this for good reason. As a forward who has a tendency to overhandle the puck, Ottawa's head coach may simply deem that it is in his best offensive players' best interests if they're the ones controlling the play.
Via Dobber Hockey:
In the final year of his two-year contract that carries an annual average value of $1.2 million, Foligno's next round of contract negotiations will be fascinating to watch. In light of a roster that already has a glut of forwards who profile as good third line players and with Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg vying for spots next fall, one has to wonder whether Foligno could become trade bait.
Other News and Notes of Pithy Importance:
- Yesterday on the Team 1200's TGOR, hosts JR and Steve Warne hit on the topic of the bloggers being potentially welcomed into the pressbox by the Ottawa Senators. Towards the latter stages of their conversation, this website got a shout out. You can listen to the show by following this link. I believe the topic of the blogosphere comes up slightly before their third hour.
- Justin Goldman from The Goalie Guild has published his report of Ben Bishop's Senators debut. Here's just a snippet from his lengthy report:
I do feel that Bishop has the assets needed to be Craig Anderson’s backup. He showed a lot of composure in last night’s game, especially when the score was still 3-2 and the Lightning were pressing for the game-tying goal. The Senators did a great job of boxing out in front of him, but his demeanor was impressive for a guy playing in one of the biggest games of his short NHL career. He didn’t appear rattled at all, and he showcased the type of maturity I hoped to see from a 25-year-old that is truly ready to be a full-time NHL goalie.Nails much?
- Forgot to mention this earlier this week but four days a go in the Peterborough Examiner, an article discussed Senators prospect Matt Puempel's health and outlook.
There is no target date for Matt Puempel's return to the lineup from a concussion.
Petes' coach Mike Pelino said Friday that Puempel continues to skate on his own but has not been cleared to practice. He saw another specialist in Toronto this week.
Pelino says the earliest the club could hope to have him back is their final regular season home game March 13 against Oshawa but there is also no indication he will be ready by then. Pelino doesn't want to go as far as saying Puempel won't play again this season but he said he also can't say for sure that Puempel will play again.Brutal news.
- Speaking of prospects, with Mika Zibanejad and Fredrik Claesson's SEL season over, Nikita Filatov is the latest overseas piece of Senators property whose season is over. After his CSKA club lost in fives games in the KHL quarterfinals, he will have a lot of time on his hands now. Well, I mean besides the amount of time that he invests into his Formspring account.
As much as I like Foligno there are, like you say, plenty of players that are here and coming up the pipe with similar styles. Somehow more was expected of him but it never materialized. Keep him if his contract demands are reasonable, trade for a pic at the draft or this summer if not.
@S_Church What do they have to offer him? A pro-rated AHL salary? Can't see him leaping at the opportunity for that.
Well Foligno is an RFA, whether they are giving him limited minutes because of this or not, its going to be nice to be able to sign him to a cheap contract again. Maybe he becomes a 2nd line player, maybe he becomes trade bait, either way we are in good shape. Given our abundance of cap space hes a nice guy to have around at this point.