It’s hard to encapsulate what Marcus Foligno means to the Minnesota Wild. He is a player that does everything right, and when he succeeds, it’s hard not to smile. Whether he’s throwing Superman punches that go viral during fights against Winnipeg Jets defenseman Brendan Dillon, or he’s potting some sweet goals, it feels as if he deserves all of the positive attention.
Foligno embodies everything it means to be a leader on a team. Not only is he a fabulous presence in the locker room, but he’s willing to stand up for players that may need it. He’s going to teach every player not to mess with anyone on the Wild, or else there will be consequences.
He’s the kind of player you want on your team and that you hate to play against. It’s super fun to watch him on the ice because he does the little things right. Do you need someone to battle in the corners? He can do that. What about someone to park themselves in front of the net and screen the goaltender? He can do that too. There is no stopping this guy when he has a goal in mind, and it’s what makes him an inspiration to many hockey players watching the Wild from the comfort of their own homes or the seats in Xcel Energy Center.
Foligno is the perfect all-around player for a young Wild team that needs players that guys can look up to and learn from. Not only is his play on the ice essential for the team’s success, but it means tons to have a strong mentor to help lead young individuals to their potential.
What do the statistics say?
Foligno is having a career year at 30 years old. He sits at 20 points in 31 games, with 13 of them being goals. In an entire 82-game season, he is on pace for 52 points which blows away all of his previous totals. For reference, he has never topped 30 points in a single season.
Foligno’s 20 points sit him seventh on the Wild’s team scoring leaderboard, and his 13 goals are tied with star forward Kirill Kaprizov and two behind Ryan Hartman, who is also having a career season. In on-ice expected goals for percentage at 5-on-5 (xGF%), Foligno is fifth on the team and third among forwards at 53.36 percent. He’s third on the team in goals for percentage (GF%) at 66.84 as well.
The numbers look great just on the surface, and if we dive even deeper into the analytics, they remain that way. In goals above replacement (GAR), Foligno sits 11th on the team at 2.4, but the number of penalties he takes would be even better. He is tied for the 12th worst individual penalty plus-minus, which affects his other numbers. Foligno moves back into the top 10 in expected goals above replacement (xGAR) with 3.8 (7th), but again, it’s because of penalties that he’s not higher up on the leaderboard.
If you want a visual of just how much Foligno has contributed to the Wild this season, his regularized adjusted plus-minus chart should do the job.
Foligno has been one of the league’s top two-way forwards for a few seasons now, and it has manifested itself in the identity of the Wild. Other great two-way forwards on the Wild, like Joel Eriksson Ek, have had someone to look up to that can do everything on the ice. Of course, the penalties being dialed back a bit might help, but it’s an obstacle that we can overlook, considering how much he does for the roster.
He’s a family man and an entertaining hockey player to watch. As someone who has watched the Wild more than enough times both in person and on TV, no one deserves success more than Foligno just for the little things he does for his teammates. He’s not afraid to stand up for the little guy, and that kind of attitude is what the sport of hockey is all about. The career season he is having by the numbers is a culmination of hard work and dedication, and he even got to wear the ‘A’ during the Winter Classic. If that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will. Hopefully, Foligno knows how much he means to the state of Minnesota and the Wild in general. The praise is undoubtedly well deserved.