Minnesota Wild: 2018-19 Season Preview of Marcus Foligno

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - APRIL 13: Marcus Foligno #17 of the Minnesota Wild warms up prior to Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Winnipeg Jets on April 13, 2018 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - APRIL 13: Marcus Foligno #17 of the Minnesota Wild warms up prior to Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Winnipeg Jets on April 13, 2018 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images) /
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Marcus Foligno is ready to start his second season with the Minnesota Wild. 17 days remaining, and we’ll keep counting them down.

Forward Marcus Foligno came to the Minnesota Wild last summer as part of the trade that saw Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella head out of town. With Tyler Ennis now gone, and 3rd round pick Jack McBain not ready to go pro, it appears now that Foligno was the key piece of that trade.

History

Marcus Foligno came into the league as a 4th round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2009. Following his draft year, he was left to complete his years remaining on his junior team in the CHL. He would finish his 4th year as captain of the Sudbury Wolves, with 59 points in 47 games.

Foligno officially started his professional career when he signed his first contract in the spring of 2011. The following fall was spent primarily in the AHL, though Foligno got to make his NHL debut in December playing against his older brother Nick Foligno.

He would get another call-up in March of that season, and made the most of it. Through 13 games to end the year, Foligno transformed his game to a scoring weapon and recorded 13 points (6G, 7A) down the stretch.

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At that point, he was being touted as a potential Top 6 forward for the Sabres and someone to watch. Unfortunately for Foligno, that was a pinnacle to this point of his career as he has never been able to match that production since.

He spent the next season split between the AHL and NHL, due to the NHL Lockout, finishing with 47 NHL games and 33 AHL games played. His offensive potential dried up, and he found himself relegated back to being a bottom 6 power forward with a high upside to break out for streaks.

He spent 6 seasons as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, averaging 20 points every season whether he played 50 games or 80 games. His true potential came out as a bottom line grinder, capable of amassing 200+ hits in a season and unafraid to stand up for his teammates.

He embraced his new role, finishing his years in Buffalo with 27 fights. He became known for a heavy right hand, most notably one-punching Ryan Carter in a fight in 2012 (see the video here).

His first season with the Minnesota Wild was more of the same, as Foligno produced 23 points for his third consecutive year, and 4 fights while playing on the 4th line. Most will likely remember this fight in February where Foligno came to the aid of Nate Prosser following a big hit.

Season Outlook

Marcus Foligno has been the picture of consistency through the last 6 seasons of his NHL career, and there is no reason to believe that should change this year. The Minnesota Wild have brought in some new additions we can expect to see alongside Foligno on the 4th line this year.

Last season, Foligno spent most of his ice time beside Joel Eriksson Ek and either Daniel Winnik or Chris Stewart. With Winnik and Stewart out of town, and Ek possibly seeing a boost to the 3rd line, Foligno could be getting used to some new linemates come October.

Likely Foligno will see some combination of Eric Fehr, Matt Hendricks, Matt Read, and/or J.T. Brown this season on what will be a 4th line with an old fashioned feel to it. All of those players play with a gritty edge, but most also have the ability to score in bunches when they get hot.

I’m predicting that Foligno will be the most consistent member of his line through the year. His game is as consistent and predictable as NHL players can get, but the pieces around him could be in constant motion to allow this deep lineup a chance to get everyone some playing time.

A year lined up beside Fehr and Brown or Ek and Brown, more often than other combinations, seems like the most likely trio to be able to shut down opponents while also putting up some secondary points for the Wild.

Foligno should stay steady with another 20+ point season, around 75 games played, approximately 200 hits, and probably 5 fights or so. Most of which should be in defense of heavy hits by opposing players.

Next. Best Fighters in Minnesota Wild History. dark

He’s reliable for what he can do, and as long as the team doesn’t ask any more than that he should be able to hold his spot. I’ve been happy with Foligno to this point, since I had low expectations when he arrived from Buffalo. A pleasant surprise who I look forward to another solid year from.