On the first day of free agency, the Boston Bruins signed Nick Foligno to a two-year, $7.6 contract. It came out of nowhere, as it seemed very likely that the veteran forward would join his brother, Marcus, on the Minnesota Wild. However, this is a nice little surprise that Bruin fans should be excited about. He is exactly the type of experienced forward you want to have around.
In 49 games this past season between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs, Foligno scored seven goals and recorded 20 points. Keep in mind, it was a shortened season. Over the previous three seasons with Columbus, he produced 30 to 35 points in each of them. He also played roughly 70 games per season, too. Although this kind of production is nowhere close to his 73-point campaign with the Blue Jackets back in 2014-15, it is still solid depth scoring. The Bruins will benefit from this.
What is also special about Foligno is the fact that he has the ability to play all three forward positions. It is always a bonus adding a player with this degree of versatility. This will allow head coach Bruce Cassidy to move him around the lineup if needed. Furthermore, when injuries inevitably occur, the veteran can be used to replace virtually anyone from the forward group.
He is also somebody who plays with a strong degree of physicality. This will certainly make him a welcomed addition to the Bruins’ lineup. The team has been criticized by many fans for being too easy to play against and Foligno’s grit will help change that narrative. He had a monstrous 133 hits in just 49 games this season. The year before, he had 212 hits in 67 games. Thus, we should expect plenty of board-smashing from Foligno this upcoming season.
Where will Foligno fit into the lineup for the Bruins?
Barring any sudden changes to the roster, it seems quite likely that Foligno will be playing on the third line. It will not be very surprising to see Jake DeBrusk and Erik Haula as his linemates, which Daily Faceoff also predicts. If this comes into fruition, Foligno will play right wing. When looking at DeBrusk’s struggles this season while playing that same position, it is clear that he needs to stay on the left. That is if the Bruins decide not to trade before the beginning of the season, of course.
Foligno is not the answer for the Bruins’ second-line center position, though. Yes, he can play center, but him taking on that large of a role just does not seem like the best idea. He is an entirely different player than David Krejci and honestly is better-suited to play top-nine minutes at this juncture.
The Bruins could also deploy him on their power play. Like the recently departed Nick Ritchie, he can work quite effectively as a net-front presence. He should be able to chip in a handful of power play goals over an 82-game schedule because of this nice element about his game.
Foligno will surely be utilized on the penalty kill, too, as he was a mainstay on Columbus’ during his time there. In fact, it would be a questionable decision not to put him on it. It’s a role that he thrives in. The Bruins are known for being strong defensively and they’ve added another forward who will only make them better in that aspect.
Ultimately, this has the potential to be a very solid signing for the Bruins. Foligno is a former NHL captain who almost 1,000 games of experience. Although he is 33-years-old, the contract is only for two years and he has yet to show any alarming signs of regression. The cap hit is reasonable for what they are getting from him, too.
It will be quite exciting to see how Foligno does with the Bruins. With his hard style of play and immense work ethic, he should become a fan favorite in no time.