When Bruins winger Nick Foligno signed with the Bruins as a free agent in the summer of 2021, fans believed the team had found a veteran leader who could provide leadership and consistency on and off the ice. The former Columbus Blue Jackets captain was expected to be a replacement for veteran David Krecji, who left the Bruins to play in his native Czechia.
Last season was not exactly what Foligno expected in his first season with the team. Injuries and inconsistency were problems throughout last season. He only scored two goals and added 11 assists in 64 games in the regular season. He was also inconsistent on defense. Despite his inconsistency, he was still a leader in the Bruins locker room, played his 1,000th NHL game, and won an award for his involvement in the local community at the end of the regular season.
Fast forward to this season. A new coach and linemates playing the best hockey of their careers have allowed Foligno to excel both on and off the ice. The 16-year veteran’s leadership has definitely helped the team throughout this season. The coaching staff and his teammates consistently talk about how Foligno has motivated them and has even acted like an assistant coach during intermissions when they were behind more than once. His energy has been recognized as a crucial part of their success this season.
Foligno has proven that while he might not put up David Pastrnak or Patrice Bergeron numbers on the stat sheet, his veteran leadership and outgoing personality have been the most valuable aspects of his career with the Bruins. He is living up to the expectation that the Bruins management and coaching staff set for him when they signed him almost two years ago. His leadership and endurance will be vital over the next few months as the Bruins push for the Stanley Cup.