Introduction: Have you ever searched Marcus Foligno’s name on Twitter? I’m not suggesting that you do this – the internet is a scary place, y’all – but I’d be willing to bet that, for whatever reasons anyone has, Foligno is the most popular Sabre right now. A big, young, physical forward, Foligno completed his first full NHL season in 2013-14.
Key Stat: 8.9% - Foligno's shooting percentage this season. It's very similar to last season's mark of 9.1%, but far, far below Foligno's rookie year, where he posted an amazing but unsustainable 26.1%, and inflated everyone's expectations to levels that were way too high for the type of prospect Foligno was and still is.
Thumbs Up: Foligno's talents thus far are primarily physical - he has a big body, and when he's into the game, he uses that big frame to his advantage. He isn't afraid to throw down or block shots, and got a chance to play on the PK a biut this year, where he scored one of the team's five shorthanded goals. Foligno likes to throw his body around, leading all forwards in hits with 206, and I happen to like that in a hockey player. He generally knows when it’s appropriate, too, which is nice (especially in a club who isn’t known for their healthy decision making).
Thumbs Down: On the other hand, though, he does demonstrate his immaturity as an NHLer at times, and has been known to take some really stupid penalties. Foligno registered 19 points (7+12) this season, which is one more than the 2013 shortened season, and a very disappointing number. While he does demonstrate some promise, his effort is still inconsistent according to Ted Nolan, and I would have liked to see him make some bigger strides this season even though everything else about this organization was pure crap. I am hopeful that, with proper linemates and coaching guidance, he will become a more defined and mature player.
Memorable Moment: On December 19 against the Bruins, Foligno earned the Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, assist, and fight.
Voting: We're grading on a curve this year, adjusting for the Sabres organizational ineptitude. So, using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season (for the Sabres) C an average season, and F a very poor season (again, for the worst team in the league) grade Marcus Foligno on his performance this year.