Nick Foligno's tenure in Columbus has been a rollercoaster, as his career-best 2014-15 performance gave way to a disastrous 2015-16 before he rebounded somewhat last year. When he's not feeling the pressure to carry the club and trying to do too much, the 29-year-old winger plays a physical, aggressive two-way game, as he topped 150 hits for the fourth straight season. He's also a capable, if not quite elite, scoring option, and his 26 goals and 21 power-play points were the second highest totals of his career. As the young roster around him continues to blossom, Foligno should grow into his team captaincy and lead by example, avoiding any further wild swings in his production.
Foligno saw 25:13 of ice time in Tuesday's preseason clash with Chicago. Despite the high volume of minutes -- which included 8:17 with the man advantage -- Foligno compiled just one shot on goal, three hits and two blocks. After missing the Blue Jackets' final playoff contest with a foot injury, the 29-year-old appears to be back to 100 percent and should challenge for the 50-point mark again this year.
Foligno (foot) was named the winner of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award on Tuesday. Both the Messier Award and the King Clancy are awarded to the player who best exemplifies qualities on and off the ice, and the Blue Jackets' captain recorded 51 points in 79 games, leading the team to a 32-point improvement in the standings. He bounced back nicely after scoring just 12 goals and 37 points in 2015-16, shouldering much of the blame that also saw former head coach Todd Richards get fired. Off the ice, Foligno was also a model citizen, donating $500,000 each to the Children's Hospital in Boston and the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.
Foligno couldn't even get his injured foot in his skate boot for Game 5 against the Penguins on Thursday, Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports. Between this injury and struggling to a minus-5 rating, the American winger had a forgettable series that culminated in a quick playoff exit for the Blue Jackets. Columbus even took an overtime loss when Foligno notched a pair of assists in Game 3. It'll be interesting to see how quickly he can recover from this malady in the offseason. During the regular season, the 10th-year skater fashioned 51 points (26 goals, 25 assists) in 79 games for fourth place on his own team.
Foligno will not play Thursday night's Game 5 in Pittsburgh due to a lower-body injury. There was no indication prior to warmups that Foligno was dealing with any sort of ailment, so it's quite shocking to see him get scratched so close to puck drop. Scott Hartnell will replace Foligno in the lineup for Thursday's crucial playoff tilt.
Foligno scored Columbus' lone goal against Chicago during Friday's 3-1 loss. It was the first tally in eight games for the Blue Jackets captain, and he also had just one helper during that stretch. Foligno has turned in a solid offensive campaign with 25 goals and 49 points through 74 games, and his 176 shots, 49 PIM and 132 hits also help his fantasy stock. He's still more of a complementary asset in the majority of settings, though.
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