Reprinted with permission from hockeybuzz.com
Left Wing--Marcus Foligno
DOB: August 10, 1991 (age, 25)
Draft: 2009, 4th round (104th overall)
How acquired: Drafted by Buffalo
Last contract signed: 2104--2 yr./$3.75M
Final year of contract: 2015-16, RFA
2015-16 Stats: 75 games played, 10 goals, 13 assists, 23 points, +4
What we wrote preseason: "Visions of a young Cam Neely danced through Sabreland when Foligno hit the NHL with a vengeance back in March, 2012, [but] that kind of success was rather unfortunate for Foligno as he forgot the type of player he was.
During the last two season "Foligno was trying to find his way in what turned out to be an especially difficult environment. [Former head coach Ted] Nolan had his deficiencies, but he managed to help more than a few players find themselves during a very difficult time for the franchise, and Foligno was one of them. For Foligno, it's no surprise that Nolan, who once coached a Buffalo squad known as "the hardest working team in hockey," got him back to creating opportunities through hard work on the ice."
What we wrote mid-season: "another one who may have found his home. As a power forward Foligno plays a real strong game. As a scorer? Still needs work. May be settling into his role as a bottom-six player who can contribute offensively.
Impressions on his play this year: And that's what ended up happening for Foligno. He knew his role and began to thrive in it. He set career highs in both goals and assists and during the latter part of the season he benefitted greatly from being on a line with captain Brian Gionta and Johan Larsson as that two-way line was the most consistent line. His plus-4 plus/minus rating was second on the team.
Foligno eventually settled in rather nicely within new head coach Dan Bylsma's system. As choppy as last season was for the entire team, the Sabres were more about evaluating players strengths and weaknesses and how they responded to their new environment and Foligno seems locked into his role as a bottom-six, muscle forward who plays a solid two-way game.
Questions moving forward: Foligno is what he is, so there aren't too many questions save for, how far can he take his role? Can he become like a "Mule," ala Detroit's Johan Franson, and up his intensity-level to the point where he and his 6'3" 222lb. frame simply won't be denied? Will his stick-work around the net improve to the point where he can reach and maintain 15-goal/30-point level? Is he prepared to take on more of the big bruisers in the league like Radko Gudas and Tom Wilson when necessary?