Toronto Maple Leafs purchase veteran ahead Nick Foligno from Columbus in 3-team deal

2021-04-12 16:05:20

TORONTO — Nick Foligno vividly recollects strolling residence from Maple Leaf Gardens together with his household one memorable evening within the spring of 1993.

His dad, Mike Foligno, was a winger on the crew that upset the Detroit Pink Wings within the first spherical of the playoffs, and Toronto had simply knocked off the St. Louis Blues in Recreation 7 to maneuver onto the convention ultimate.

“The parade ambiance that the followers gave,” Nick Foligno mentioned of his recollections practically 28 years later. “That simply caught with me to at the present time, how passionate Leafs followers are.

“I do know it.”

Optimistically, the youthful Foligno will get an opportunity to expertise one thing comparable with Toronto in a number of months after the membership acquired the veteran ahead from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday in a three-team deal.

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“I’m a man that performs off my intestine, my coronary heart,” Foligno mentioned. “And my coronary heart was telling me this was the appropriate transfer, so I went with it ? it simply felt proper.

“I’m actually trying ahead to only getting there and getting acquainted with all the things after which hitting the bottom working and serving to any means I can.”

Columbus secured Toronto’s first-round choose within the 2021 NHL draft and fourth-round choice in 2022 as a part of the swap, whereas the San Jose Sharks get the Leafs’ fourth rounder in 2021. The Blue Jackets will retain 50 per cent of Foligno’s contract, whereas the Sharks earned a choose for consuming the opposite half of his US$5.5-million wage cap hit. Toronto additionally bought minor-league ahead Stefan Noesen as one other depth possibility from San Jose within the deal.

The transfer by Leafs common supervisor Kyle Dubas — he improved the roster with out sacrificing gifted kids Rasmus Sandin or Nick Robertson — forward of the NHL’s Monday afternoon commerce deadline is a transparent indication he believes the group at the moment sitting atop the North Division standings is able to go for it in 2021.

The Blue Jackets eradicated a bitterly dissatisfied Toronto from the qualifying spherical of the league’s post-season bubble in a hard-fought five-game collection final summer time, however Foligno mentioned there was rather a lot to love a few younger, gifted roster looking for its means.

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“They had been a crew that discovered rather a lot about themselves,” mentioned the 33-year-old pending unrestricted free agent. “I simply felt it was a match for me simply within the sense of simply what I can carry.”

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The six-foot, 211-pound Foligno had seven objectives and 16 factors in 42 video games with Columbus this season because the Blue Jackets struggled to achieve traction after going toe-to-toe with the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Lightning within the first spherical of the 2020 playoffs.

“Factor simply didn’t fairly fall into place,” he mentioned. “We had plenty of turbulence.”

Toronto, in the meantime, beefed up its grit and management within the fall after that loss to Columbus by signing Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds and Zach Bogosian in free company.

Foligno is a participant reduce from comparable material in lots of respects.

“Each Kyle and (head coach Sheldon Keefe) have reached out,” he mentioned. “They’re simply excited concerning the alternative to get to work. That’s all we’re attempting to do. You may inform how targeted that group is on attempting to win and the duty at hand.

“It strains up mentally with the place I’m at and what I really feel is critical to win hockey video games.”

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Toronto made one other transfer late Sunday, buying goalie David Rittich from Calgary — the Flames retained 50 per cent of the pending UFA’s US$2.75-million wage — for a third-round choose in 2022. The commerce provides to the Leafs’ depth with Jack Campbell, who’s 11-0-0 this season, at the moment the crew’s No. 1 crease possibility as Frederik Andersen continues to nurse a lower-body harm that’s saved him out of the lineup since March 19.

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Foligno, who performed alongside Leafs ahead Jason Spezza with the Ottawa Senators and Toronto star Auston Matthews on the 2016 world championships for the U.S. nationwide crew, may have one other acquainted face within the combine when he will get into the locker room after the crew additionally acquired centre Riley Nash from Columbus on Friday.

Named the sixth captain in Blue Jackets historical past in Might 2015, Foligno has 9 objectives and 22 factors in 51 playoff contests.

The Buffalo, N.Y., native, who was chosen twenty eighth general by Ottawa in 2006 and spends summers together with his younger household in Sudbury, Ont., should quarantine for seven days as soon as he arrives in Canada earlier than becoming a member of his new crew.

Foligno mentioned his spouse and three youngsters will stay in Columbus due to the skyrocketing COVID-19 scenario in Ontario.

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“The toughest a part of this for me is simply not having the ability to have them there,” he mentioned. “In addition they perceive daddy’s going there to do a job.

“I’m going to go and do the perfect I can and attempt to assist them and convey a Cup residence.”

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Blue Jackets common supervisor Jarmo Kekalainen paid tribute to his now-former participant _ initially acquired from Ottawa for defenceman Marc Methot in 2012 — as soon as the deal was introduced.

“Nick Foligno has been all the things you’d need in a captain, in a consultant of your crew and ambassador in your neighborhood. His contributions to the Blue Jackets franchise and the impression he and his household have had off the ice is immeasurable,” Kekalainen mentioned in an announcement. “Given the place we’re proper now, this transfer made sense for us as a company and for Nick.”

Foligno has 203 objectives and 482 factors in 950 profession regular-season video games with Columbus and Ottawa. He’ll put on his father’s previous No. 71 in Toronto, however is unlikely to imitate the household patriarch’s leaping celebration when he places the puck within the internet.

He’s additionally hoping for a greater finish consequence ought to the Leafs _ a franchise that’s didn’t win a playoff collection since 2004 _ begin stringing collectively some victories in Might and June.

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“I’m not a giant fan of Kerry Fraser,” Foligno joked in reference to the referee’s notorious non-call on a Wayne Gretzky high-stick many Toronto followers nonetheless contend value the Leafs the 1993 convention ultimate towards the Los Angeles Kings and a Stanley Cup showdown with the Montreal Canadiens. “I’ll always remember that run. It’s one thing my dad talks about to at the present time. It’s type of ingrained into that metropolis.

“I’m trying ahead to happening one other one.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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