2015-16 Buffalo Sabres Grades: Marcus Foligno
The Buffalo Sabres 2015-16 season featured plenty of new faces that helped the team finally dig their way out of the league basement. We're grading everybody who played at least 20 games for the Sabres this year, from Bogosian to Ullmark.
Contract: $1,875,000, under contract through 2015-16
Introduction: There's little new to say about Marcus Foligno, Buffalo's heartthrob. Like in previous seasons, he has seen spot duty in the top six but played some of his best hockey on the third line, especially towards the end of the season. He also had two short-handed goals in March as he became a key figure on the penalty kill.
This is his fifth season with the Sabres, and he has yet to have the breakout year we've all been waiting for. At this point, Foligno is a known commodity, and while he is an important lower six forward, players like him are dime a dozen in the NHL.
His defensive consistency and familiarity with Dan Bylsma's system means he'll probably get extended in the offseason, but it's difficult to see a bigger role for Foligno going forward.
2.6 - That's Foligno's hits per game over 75 games played this season, good for third on the Sabres. Buffalo were middle of the league in hits in the League with 1,916, down from the 2,204 the previous season when they were chasing shadows more nights than not.
The younger son of former Sabres legend Mike Foligno, Marcus is one of the best sources of energy on the Sabres. Whether it's with a well-timed hit, a necessary dropping of the gloves, or a great shift shutting down the opposing team's top line, Foligno has been Johnny-on-the-spot many times this season and in the past as well. To top it off, he was announced as the Sabres Foundation' Man of the Year in the end of season awards.
The forward doesn't do any one thing terribly, so it's hard to pinpoint a particular flaw and thumb it down. Five seasons into the NHL though, and Marcus has yet to have even one outstanding year. It'll be interesting to see if General Manager Tim Murray and Bylsma have the same view of the player, or will be interested in extending his time in Buffalo.
Foligno had a few highlight reel moments this season - his first goal of the season, thumping Blues' bad boy Robert Bortuzzo, scoring a spectacular diving goal on RJ-cam, and his first shortie of the season.
However, his most memorable moment of the season was easily this shorthanded breakaway against the Flames towards the end of the year.
ROLL THE HIGHLIGHT FILM @NHLhttps://t.co/S2FhcKyjG8— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 4, 2016
Voting: 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, grade Marcus Foligno on his performance this year.
Grade Marcus Foligno on his 2015-16 season.