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Boston Bruins Countdown to Camp: Nick Foligno

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Boston Bruins

From now until the beginning of training camp, Boston Hockey Now is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2022-23 Boston Bruins. Today’s player: Nick Foligno.

Social Media handles: Twitter (@NickFoligno)

What Happened Last Year: Foligno, 34, has watched his numbers decline for each of the last four seasons and that continued in his first season in Boston as he posted two goals and 13 points in 64 games while battling back issues. He was mostly saddled on the fourth line, which led to some level of disagreement with then head coach Bruce Cassidy, and generally didn’t have a major impact on the team after being brought in as a veteran power forward-type.

Part of the issue clearly is that Foligno has to work harder to keep up with the NHL pace as he advances into middle age, but part of it was also that he wasn’t nearly enough of a net-front presence as advertised coming to Boston. Foligno was much more effective down the stretch and during the playoffs when he found consistent line chemistry with Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar as all three forwards really bought into playing energy line roles for the Boston Bruins.

But let’s be honest here, Foligno was not brought into Boston on a contract paying him $3.8 million per season to scrape by as a fourth line forward seemingly incapable of bringing much offense or impact to the table. Any way you look at it, Foligno has to be looked at as a disappointment heading into a year with plenty of questions as to what he’s going to bring to the table for Boston.

Questions To Be Answered This Season: It’s a blunt question, of course, but Foligno has to prove that he’s got something meaningful left in the tank. There’s no longer a coach around that the veteran forward clearly had some friction with, and he enters a new season fully healthy and with a chance to settle into a bottom-6 role with the Black and Gold.

But we’re talking about a longtime effective, physical NHL player and former Columbus captain that’s seen his play in decline over the last few seasons, and one who now has back issues that have cropped up in the last couple of seasons. The Boston Bruins chose not to try and go the buyout route with Foligno, so he’ll have a fair chance to carve out a role for himself at NHL training camp headed into this coming season. Will it end with Foligno buried in the AHL like Chris Wagner, or simply playing out the season as a 13th forward on a team that could sorely use a physical, grinding winger if the 34-year-old is up to the task.

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In Their Words: “Our fourth line, which I see Foligno being a leader of, if he’s not on the third line, being an important momentum line. Getting us right back into the other team’s end and gaining momentum for the other lines and wearing teams down so we can change on the fly and throw out whoever Pasta’s playing with to get us a goal.” –Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery to the Boston Globe while discussing Foligno’s envisioned role headed into next season.

Overall Outlook: Nick Foligno is among a number of Boston Bruins players likely entering the final year in Boston, and it’s up to the 34-year-old how his stint with the Black and Gold will be viewed once it’s all said and done. His first season in Boston wasn’t very good for a number of reasons, but one of them seems to be disagreement about his role with the team.

There shouldn’t be a repeat of that this season with a very clearly defined role for Foligno headed into the season, and a chance for him to bring toughness, physicality, grit and leadership to the table for a bottom-6 group that could definitely use all of those things. Foligno certainly could put up better numbers than last season, even on the fourth line, and should be motivated to be more of an impact guy given his resume prior to coming to Boston.

For a team that’s looking at this season as their “Last Dance” so to speak with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on one-year deals, Foligno very much fits into that mindset as well as he’s looking at one of his last chances at Stanley Cup glory as well.

 

 

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Orrfan

Question to be answered this season: Why is he still on the team? As I noted when David Backes was uselessly floating around on Garden ice, you are no longer an effective leader…if you can no longer play the game. Leadership can never be a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. And if Foligno “can’t do”, he also cannot lead. At 2 goals and 13 points in a full season, what else does Foligno have to offer? You bring in a new coach, ostensibly because Cassidy didn’t bring the young players along. And then you continue to… Read more »

Ernest King

To add to your post, he’s also taking a spot away from one of our younger players, maybe Steen or McGauglin who comes way cheaper..BUT this all goes back to last summer and signing Foligno to a 2 yr contract at 3.8 million a season!! Thats beyond stupid because it was so obvious he was going downhill quickly..He did nothing in Toronto/Columbus season before so HOW could a GM dish out that kind of contract to a washed up player?? I dunno man, well beyond my understanding..

John

You’re a Bruins fan and you ask HOW could a GM give out a contract like that ? Nothing stupid Sweeney does should surprise you. He probably drafts a kicker in the first round of his NFL fantasy draft as well

Ernest King

True there my friend and yeah I shouldnt be surprised DS signed him!! Just SO frustrating for me as Ive been cheering for this team for over 50 years..Pastrnak is also a big concern. If he’s not willing to sign a longterm deal with Bruins before season begins, Sweeney will probably let him walk next summer and get nothing in return..Pasta playing out the last yr of his contract makes it possible for it to happen and his value depreciates each game he plays..IF he wont sign, isnt it better to trade him now and get the best possible return??

Alex

Why Folingo is still on the team is because the Bruins already gave away their second round picks 2023 and 2024 to get rid of him

Rick W Murray

I always thought Belesky and Backes we’re two of the most useless players on the planet but after watching Foligno there’s a new king deserving of that moniker Nick Foligno. This guy wouldn’t make the first two lines in the ECHL. If he starts the season. I won’t be watching. If this is the best they can do for the 4th line they don’t deserve to win. How many chances does this guy get?! He was horrible with the leafs the only way you noticed him on the ice last season were the stupid penalties he got while marching to… Read more »

Tony

No folks, it’s not just incompetence that keeps guys like Foligno on the team. When an insecure GM makes a blunder like Foligno there’s no way he can admit it by doing the right thing by the team and letting the player go. No, we’ll get three years of excuses and “wait til next years” and puff pieces like this that make it seem like there’s actually a chance this guy can be a viable player.

So you can add cowardice to stupidity.

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