I’d call it a sophomore slump but technically Marcus Foligno is still a rookie.
It might not seem that way since Foligno played in 23 games last season but anything under 25 games and you are still considered a rookie by NHL standards.
Whatever the case, this season has been much more of a struggle for the 21 year old Foligno.
The left winger has just one goal and is a team worst minus eight. That goal came back on January 27th in a 3-2 loss at Washington so the Buffalo native drags an 18 game goal drought into tonight’s game at New Jersey. The 6’2”, 227 pound winger is pointless in his last eight games.
Foligno has scored a point in just six of his 23 games this season. Last season he had a point in 9 of 14.
There were pretty high expectations for Foligno based on how well he played at the end of last season and how he experienced instant chemistry on a line with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.
Foligno played in 13 games after being called up from Rochester on March 10th and wound up with six goals, 13 points and was a plus six. It was probably unfair to expect Foligno to produce goals at that pace(35 over the course of a full season) because his shooting percentage was 26%, which is very high for most forwards.
However, no one anticipated that shooting percentage to be way down at 2% this season.
Foligno is still doing what he can to help the Sabres. He does have seven assists and has been better of late in terms of his physical presence.
The Sabres fourth round pick in the 2009 draft said his benching on February 28th at Florida caught him by surprise but has probably helped him. Foligno admitted he was confused about what kind of player he is and at times he was certainly guilty of over stickhandling and attempting to be a finesse player.
When Foligno is on his game, he is all about playing north-south, dumping pucks in and working on a forecheck, winning one on one battles along the boards and digging pucks out for linemates.
But when presented with the opportunity, Foligno does need to do a better job of finishing. Just the other night in Carolina, he had a pair of good chances but couldn’t beat Canes goalie Justin Peters.