Almost as priceless as Foligno's goal celebration is the expression on the woman's face on the right hand side of the photo.In his end of the season media availability, Senators GM Bryan Murray reflected on a few needs that he will need to address in the offseason.
“I think up front, we’re always looking for somebody to step in and score goals. I think that line where Alfie played with Turris, if we had one more guy that could score consistently there or be a 20 or 25 goal scorer that would really make our team different as well. I think beyond that, we could fit guys within the system into what we’re doing.”When asked whether an internal option like Nick Foligno could help fill that goal quota, Murray did not hesitate.
“That’s exactly what I asked Nick today. ‘Are you going to be that guy? Are you going to be the guy that improves this summer strength wise and getting up and down the ice a little better?’ He thinks he can and I’ve challenged him a little bit in that area.”Much like Don Brennan suggesting which former Ottawa 67s player the Senators should target, the question of whether or not Foligno can get better seems like an annual offseason occurrence. And to Nick Foligno’s credit, he has improved his point totals for the second consecutive season in a row – establishing a new career high in regular season points with 47.
In fact, on the surface, it seemed like most of his surface numbers were near or better than his previous career highs.
(Note: You will notice that the 1,021,031 goaltender interference penalties that Nick took this season are conspicuously absent from the statistics below.)
Considering that it looked like Foligno took a considerable step forward this past season, it was shocking to learn that his average ice-time was down and that his power play ice-time was the lowest that it's been since his rookie season.
Having finished sixth amongst Senators forwards in average ice-time per game and seventh in PP TOI/G (behind such offensive stalwarts such as Chris Neil, Colin Greening and Stephane Da Costa), in many ways, it makes what Foligno did last season even more impressive.
With a lack of power play points that had so often boosted his offensive totals in other years, Foligno did most of his damage at even strength and did so despite having one of the lowest shooting percentages of his career. In fact, his shooting percentage actually benefitted from the four empty net goals that he had. Without those four tallies, he would shot a paltry 7.3-percent.
Proportionate to his 5v5 ice-time, of NHL forwards who played in more than 40 games, Foligno had the 37th best points-per-60 minutes rate in the league at 2.40. Of the forwards who played in 80 or more games, Foligno had the 20th best mark in the league - finishing ahead of big name offensive talents like John Tavares (2.37), Anze Kopitar (2.25), Zach Parise (2.18) and Daniel Alfredsson (2.16).
Now obviously, unlike many of these other players, Foligno benefitted from playing the bulk of his regular season minutes on Ottawa's third line; away from the opposition's best players.
As a decent puck possession player, management could gamble on Foligno; giving him more ice-time, better linemates and special team minutes.
He could be a very effective and cost-efficient solution, seeing as how management wouldn't have to go into free agency and bid against 29 other teams who are looking for their own 20 to 25 goal guy for their top six. Moreover, with a number of promising young prospects who hopefully will be vying for top six jobs in the one to three seasons, there's no reason to risk overpaying a short-term UFA solution who will only serve to block these same prospects down the road.
Should Foligno emerge and prove competent, it would also save the organization money that they can allocate elsewhere - like their need for a top four defenceman.
Considering how the Foligno-Turris-Alfie second line was arguably Ottawa's most effective in the postseason, perhaps this Foligno gamble is one to seriously consider and move forward with.
In fact, do yourself a favor and take a look at how effective the trio was when they played together at 5v5 - Foligno's presence on the team's second line had significant positive effects on Alfie and Turris' rate of production. (Note: Look at what each of these players did without Foligno being on the ice with them. Third major column.)
From a personal standpoint, I'd like to see Foligno be given a lengthy audition on the team's second line. I just hope he's up to the challenge.
I'd me more than happy if they re-signed him for a couple of years. I personally don't feel he's a full time 2nd line player, but he has all the skills, size, and experience a lot of teams would like at his price. It seems like for the last few years, he has a fantastic month which amounts to the team getting an extra couple of wins when the stars can't get it done. Add to that he seems to be a great locker room guy, also somewhat of a leader (I'm basing that on how he's often there for an interview, and how he talks in the press)
And if he will become a solid 2nd line 20-25 goal scorer, I feel like the current style of hockey the Senators play very much benefits his skill set. He just needs to stop trying to do ridiculous dangles when a simple dump and chase is required. Not that I complain about his 4 or 5 highlight reel goals a year he seems to score.
I agree, & I've said this for a few years in a row now. Foligno should be given a chance for the top 6. Because Nick's been around for 5 years, many people think it is time to move on. However, Nick will still be 24 when training camp begins. He's just starting to enter the prime of his career. He scored 47 points this season. That ranks 34th among LW's in the league. The Sens should be able to sign him to a 2 year deal @ around $2m per. Thats a heck of a bang for your buck. Nick will continue to improve this coming season & if he can develop some consistency playing with Turris & Alfie for a full season should be capable of putting up a 60 point season. I'd hate to see him do that for another team.
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! This from the same man who, for year, has asserted that Foligno was a 3rd line player?! I guess people are allowed to have their viewpoint evolve (#obamaevolution)
To be fair, given the modest success we had this year, I think that everyone's vision of this team has shifted from doing what is best for the team 5 years to getting better and better every year. At the time the whole nick foligno trade chip thing was pretty reasonable if we were going to go into tank mode. Now the focus has kind of shifted towards getting more and more talent while maintaining flexability and youth. Personally I think that the flaws that Nick has are the kinds of flaws that you can improve on over time with the right direction.
@Nichols6thSens @Danny64 I myself have always though of Nick Foligno as a 3rd liner. In previous years, under Cloustons mentorship, he was given opportunities to play in the top 6 and never really seemed to develop. I would find myself questioning why he was given so many chances. This year, I found myself questioning why he wasn't given more chances. His point totals are not only higher but his whole style of play has changed. He is much more aggressive, physical, in your face and a huge asshole. Although his Goaltender interference is up, its nice to see him involved. Can Nick foligno become a regular second liner? After seeing his evolution this year I would say its possible.
@S_Church He took his game to another level and did so in limited opportunity. Is he still aggravating as hell at times? Absolutely.There's nothing quite like seeing him stickhandle through three forwards in the neutral zone to inexplicably lose the puck as he skates towards the corner...
I suppose the realization that I'd rather see the Sens give him an opportunity is reflective of the state of a shitty free agent market where it will be incredibly difficult for the Senators to find value (at a reasonable cost) and get a good return.