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  • Now Isn't the Best Time For Wild To Move Marcus Foligno


    Image courtesy of Matt Blewett-USA Today Sports
    Tony Abbott

    Ideally in the NHL, you want to buy low and sell high. Actually doing that, however, is easier said than done. Oftentimes, buying low means taking a risk on a player that may or may not be damaged goods. There's a reason a team wants to trade a buy-low player, after all, and it's usually pretty obvious to everyone else.

    A similar problem exists when players are at the peak of their value. Why on earth would you want to sell, say, Marcus Foligno coming off a season where he scored 23 goals and 42 points? Combine that with his physicality and willingness to fight, and you've got Tom Wilson-lite on your hands. Who's trading that?

    One year after putting up those numbers, Foligno's gone from a sell-high candidate to a buy-low opportunity for someone else. In 65 games last season, Foligno scored just seven goals and 21 points, lower totals than each of his previous three seasons. This includes a 59-game season in 2019-20, and a 39-game campaign the following year. 

    Bill Guerin and the Minnesota Wild front office surely still value his physical presence and leadership. But everything else points to a potential trade. His down year came at age-31, so you have to wonder if this was a mere down year or a red flag signaling decline. The cap-strapped Wild also will have a tough time filling out their roster, and Foligno is one of few movable deals that could net them relief. He's in the final year of his contract, and if he wants a raise above his $3.1-million cap hit, the Wild might be forced to move on.

    Still, moving Foligno in the summer doesn't feel like the best timing. In addition to selling low, there's also the on-ice impact to consider. Foligno has been one of the best defensive forwards in hockey since arriving in Minnesota. He's a core part of the Wild's identity, or the one they want to have, anyway, as a big forward who can punish physically, provide some offense, and doesn't back down. Losing him would mean two alternate captains walking out the door in the same summer, along with Matt Dumba.

    Is that replaceable? The Wild would hope that someone like Brandon Duhaime would be able to backfill that role, but that's a bit to ask from a guy who has just 15 goals in 131 NHL games throughout his career. Granted, he's physical and unafraid to drop the gloves, but Minnesota had better hope Duhaime can turn those flashes of skill into consistent offense if they want to replace Foligno.

    But maybe you think it kind of doesn't matter whether Foligno is on the team or not. Perhaps you think they're better off not focusing on winning now, anyway, given that better versions of this team failed to get out of the first round. It still might not be a good idea to trade Foligno at the draft. 

    Teams spend on different things depending on what time of year it is. The draft tends to be focused on salary dumping and/or star players. You give up some picks to clear up your cap space, or you flip guys like Alex DeBrincat. If teams want a depth forward — even a very good one — they're close to free agency, where those players are freely available.

    Given Foligno's track record over, a bog-standard depth forward, could Foligno be an exception? Maybe, especially if Guerin could generate some sort of bidding war. In a draft as deep as experts believe the 2023 class is, a second-round pick could be good value... if the Wild can get it, that is. 

    But the place teams really pay top-dollar for Marcus Foligno types is at the trade deadline. Teams can't easily find depth players for free, and they tend to start valuing the things Foligno brings to the table, like his physicality and size. Remember, Jordan Greenway, who was having a worse season and had a worse track record than Foligno, went for a second-round pick at the deadline last year.

    We saw other overpays happening for depth players, too. Remember Nick Bjugstad? It's OK if you don't, really, it's not like he had a lot of memories in a Wild sweater. He went for a third-rounder at the deadline. Grinding center types like Lars Eller returned a second-round pick for their clubs. Multiple years of team control played a factor in this, but look at how the Tampa Bay Lightning paid a first, second, third, fourth, and fifth-round pick for Tanner Jeannot, a dollar-store version of Foligno.

    Saving Foligno for the trade deadline also benefits the Wild as sellers because of his salary. $3.1 million might be a burden on the Wild's cap now, but it becomes an asset as the trade deadline approaches and only a small portion of his salary goes on another team's books. Even more so if the Wild retain salary in such a deal. Instead of offloading money, they're in a position where moving Foligno's salary is doing another contender a favor.

    The pressures facing the Wild might force their hand to dump Foligno's salary this summer. Perhaps the Wild get a return that's good enough to justify the move, and go on with their offseason. But if at all possible, it sure seems like the most prudent move to do with Foligno is rehabilitate his trade value and strike at the trade deadline, where they can maximize his value.

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    This is the best plan, a trade deadline acquisition, or keeping him for our own run if we're in position. I'd rather trade out Zuccarello than Foligno mainly because of the money. 

    As for Foligno being 31 and having the bad year, I don't think we should be looking at him falling off a cliff. I believe he played a bit injured most of the year, and, the vaunted GREEF line had problems because Greenway was constantly late to the party in the offensive end. A lot of those 23 goals Foligno had a year before came from banging home a greasy one, and when your setup guy is late, you just don't get those feeds. 

    Foligno's skating seemed to be just as fast as normal, and his hitting was fierce. He's still a very good forward, but more of a defensive one. I do think this is his last year here, and we really don't have a replacement for him. Duhaime can be a similar player, but the thing is we don't really have a Duhaime replacement if he is the Foligno replacement. We lack a lot of size in Iowa. Ohgren is still a ways away. 

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    MN needs to replace Foligno by committee. In other words, do what Foligno does with your whole team. All the lines have the ability to play hard and tough. Hit or skate or score to win games. Vegas just showed us the formula used by every Cup team going back to the Blackhawks through Pittsburgh & Tampa and even Vegas has had a successful run of playoff success prior to their Cup. All of those teams had the right elements and Colorado, STL, and Washington got into the mix with the same formula in the past decade.

    Every one of those teams had depth, size or skating with their talented goal-scorers, elite offensive defensemen, and top class goalies. Not to mention coaches. MN just isn't that close. They have a rookie coach relatively with no playoff success, undersize roster with no elite offensive defenseman or depth of scoring. Goalies are good but the team also lacks elite leadership like you see from Mark Stone, Tkachuk, Bergeron, MacKinnon, Kane, or O'Rielly when they score back-breaking goals to propel their teams to win.

    I posted this before but why do the Wild need Reaves or Foligno??? To make up for what they lack elsewhere.

    What do teams like Florida, Boston, Carolina, Dallas, or Vegas not need to do??? Go out and sign muscle or size to accompany their talent.

    So there you have it. Why pay Foligno 3.5M to do what Sundqvuisst does for 1M? Zuccarello puts up points with his line. Foligno needs luck and linemates to make him better. Personally, I'm ready to see both guys wrap it up and find new players to round out the roster. I think GMBG is right to keep trying new players on low-risk deals because eventually he'll find some good ones like Gus or Mojo where the fit is great. Sticking with the stale old vets will usually result in stale, predictable results. Kinda how I see Fleury too but more inclined to see him stay til Gus and Wallstedt prove full elite Swedeness.

    Edited by Protec
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    The Wild need more size.  Larger players with good skill such as Ek, Foligno  Duhaime and Boldy can be hard to come by.  Those are the only forwards we have that are 6' 2'' or larger.  I don't count Reaves.  He is in a classification all his own.  We are 30th in height.  What is worse is that our prospect pool isn't all that large either.  You can fake grit by playing physical and aggressive.  But real grit comes with size and willingness to battle when it hurts. (Playoff Hockey)  BG needs to take a serious look at this roster and the prospect pool and figure out how to feed it some size with that skill.  Even our top prospect of Beckman, Walker and Rossi do not reach 6' 2''.  Neither does our prospect pool on defense.

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    One more reason we can’t trade Foligno:

    After moving back to Minnesota last year, I splurged on the “Critical Habitat” license plates… literally so that I could get the moose plate to proudly display my love for the big guy. 

    Lets go Wild! 🫎 

    image.jpeg.fc62f702311a4a5c01d22a3e5f1bd916.jpeg

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    I agree with the consensus.  We need size and we need a bruiser line.  Only problem is we don't have a bruiser center.  I'm pretty sure Ek is going to play with Boldy and Mojo.

    Foligno is a waste on a non bruiser line.

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    3 hours ago, mnfaninnc said:

    A lot of those 23 goals Foligno had a year before came from banging home a greasy one, and when your setup guy is late, you just don't get those feeds. 

    Foligno's skating seemed to be just as fast as normal, and his hitting was fierce. He's still a very good forward, but more of a defensive one. I do think this is his last year here, and we really don't have a replacement for him. Duhaime can be a similar player, but the thing is we don't really have a Duhaime replacement if he is the Foligno replacement. We lack a lot of size in Iowa. Ohgren is still a ways away. 

    Moving Ek off that line had a lot to do with it, I think. We saw how much better Boldy/MoJo looked with him when he was added, and then how different it was when he got injured. 

    Ek definitely should be on the Boldy line to start the season going forward. 

    They seemed to like putting Foligno with Rossi when he was playing in the NHL though, so I'm sure they'll want to do that again for at least a season. Not that it helped Rossi look any better out there.. 

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    Foligno is not part of the future here in Minnesota, so I would be willing to trade him, especially if it helps us resign the Gus bus. Let some of the younger players fill his roster spot. Trade value might be lower in the off-season, but now is when we need the cap space. Waiting until the trade deadline might get a better draft pick, but it could also cost us the Gus bus, and he is worth keeping.

    I agree the team needs some bigger players, but they don't all have to be giants. The best combination is a big player paired with a smaller one. Think of Spurgeon and Middleton as a good match. You need a little of both, as opposed to an all or nothing formula.

    Get a big body center to pair with Kaprizov, similar to how Ek is paired with Boldy.

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    Foligno is inconsequential in my mind.  He’s not why this team is winning or losing.  He’s just there being a role player.  If he leaves, the team isn’t going to crumble into draft lottery territory.  He’s not going to be the reason this team wins a Cup.  I’ll take him as a fourth liner.   Anything more than that (3rd liner)…I’m indifferent.

    He’s part of the identity….which is?  Folding like a cheap tent in a wind storm?  He kind of personified that in the playoffs this year.  I get what he was trying to do, but his playoff meltdown made me sour on him a bit.

    I view him sort of like Dumba.  By all accounts he’s a great guy.  He’s a guy I’d love to grab some beers and play a round of golf with.  Obviously a good room guy.  Capable of performing.  But, I think someone like Duhaime could fill his role just fine next season.  I’d prefer to get the rebuild under way and move on.

     

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    1 hour ago, Beast said:

    He kind of personified that in the playoffs this year.  I get what he was trying to do, but his playoff meltdown made me sour on him a bit.

    What meltdown? Being honest about the absolutely atrocious and obvious one sided refereeing? The knee on knee that was unavoidable?

     

    I'd keep Foligno over Reaves as an enforcer any day. He put more fear into opponents than anyone even after they traded for Reaves. It was Foligno who backed up his teammates WAY more than Reaves.

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    8 hours ago, Willy the poor boy said:

    What meltdown? Being honest about the absolutely atrocious and obvious one sided refereeing? The knee on knee that was unavoidable?

     

    I'd keep Foligno over Reaves as an enforcer any day. He put more fear into opponents than anyone even after they traded for Reaves. It was Foligno who backed up his teammates WAY more than Reaves.

    Yeah I don't think Foligno is the one to criticize for the refs in the series. That's literally victim-blaming! Obviously they were eventually gunning for him during and after game 3 but its not like he did anything illegal for those calls and he still got penalized. It was just stupid on the refs' part. 

    And honestly, Dean is the one to blame for that. He's the hot-head with the officials all year every game and obviously that trickled down to the players and eventually his complaints fell on deaf official ears. 

    But back to Reaves v Foligno, it was nice to actually have two guys capable of calming down situations. On different lines, even. I know Reaves didn't fight as much as people expected, but it takes two to fist-fight in the NHL and a lot of guys just don't want him bashing their skulls in. If it came down to Reaves or Foligno.. idk, it would be tough. 

    Foligno offers a little more scoring but Reaves is actually the better intimidator/fighter. I think if he became THE guy on the team instead of Foligno, we'd see him running dudes over more. It was Foligno with the A, not Reaves. Don't blame the guy for knowing his place in the locker room. 

     

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    The Wild did get screwed by the refs again.

    The Foligno-blame isn't totally fair, especially given Guerin and Evason's propensity to lose their temper. 

    I think the Wild lacked depth without Shaw & Ek against Dallas. The refs exacerbated the problem. 

    There's some player upgrade options during this off-season. I hope GMBG can pull off a lot of signings, transactions & acquisitions. The numbers game, trying more guys and being quick to move on from others. Vegas is another good example of GMs and scouting paying off. Big move for Eichel. Big move for Stone. Big moves all around. Get rid of injury-plagued but talented Pacioretty, moved out Tuch in his prime, etc.

    Yet MN is like, "Nah I think we better keep 20-point glue-guy." Or, "We gotta just wait for little Euro guys to make it." 

    Kinds tells me, MN is happy with status quo. These penalty seasons just make it hard to compare apples to apples. The Wild need more shakeup this off-season. Vegas has Barbashev, UFA status and Howden RFA. MN should be looking to get more guys like that and fewer little guys or international hype players.

    Personally, I think Foligno is overpaid. Goligoski, overpaid. Fleury and Zuccarello are okay based on their numbers but are old and not exactly dominant performers. The Wild need to fully turn the page. Step it up a notch towards getting bigger & more skilled. 

    Roster spots are bogged down with low-production guys. Foligno and Reaves are energy guys with size being plugged in with other smaller energy guys. MN top end talent is amongst just a handful of players with no offense on the back end other than defensive dud Addison. Maybe he's lifting and practicing defense right now but we'll see.

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    4 hours ago, B1GKappa97 said:

    Foligno offers a little more scoring but Reaves is actually the better intimidator/fighter. I think if he became THE guy on the team instead of Foligno, we'd see him running dudes over more.

    I don't think this is the case. There were a lot of times on the ice when Reaves, due to his lack of speed, simply could not get to the target. This would be the most important thing to figure out: Is Reaves turning into an orange cone, or can he still skate with the league. My conclusion is orange. His fights generally happened at a faceoff where he didn't have to chase someone down. 

    Any time a referee sees a player chasing someone down, that is an instant red flag for an instigator call. Foligno can still skate, and he will deliver the retaliatory big hit if needed. It doesn't always have to be a fight, the reverse hit that Hartman put on Conner sent the same message as a fight. Foligno can still keep up, I am not convinced that Reaves can. 

    I'd be willing to have Reaves on the team at vet minimum, 1 year. Anything above that is a waste of our cap. Reaves will also need to have a comfy chair in the Prossbox, since he will be scratched fairly often.

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    2 hours ago, Protec said:

    Personally, I think Foligno is overpaid. Goligoski, overpaid. Fleury and Zuccarello are okay based on their numbers but are old and not exactly dominant performers. The Wild need to fully turn the page. Step it up a notch towards getting bigger & more skilled. 

    Roster spots are bogged down with low-production guys.

    Wouldn't this be the definition of placeholders? I could see trades if the prospects could pass these guys on the depth chart. But, with the Guerin method, he prefers a heavy marinade on his steak than just a cursory rub. 

    By the way, Beckman got hurt down the stretch for Iowa last season, but upon his return, there was a serious fire in his belly. Looked like something clicked. I'm hoping he is having a nice lifting offseason too, if he can come in north of 200, I think he earns a spot.

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    12 hours ago, Willy the poor boy said:

    What meltdown? Being honest about the absolutely atrocious and obvious one sided refereeing? The knee on knee that was unavoidable?

    There was no meltdown. Foligno got tagged with 10s before any meltdown could occur. Referees seriously fear games getting out of control, even if their terrible calls cause this. The only way to change this narrative is to have a few games get out of control.

    So we're down 4-1 with 10 minutes left in the 3rd? You can still make this game meaningful by having a boys will be boys moment. It's very effective if it's an in-division game. Forget the score, sometimes referees and leagues need to know that your frustrations do not always get kept in check. An approving nod from Deano, with a glare at the opposing coach can solidify this. Yes, it's part of the WWE playbook, but it is entertaining to the fans, and shows up certain referees. They are then slapped with an enormous amount of paperwork and review. You'll need 2 or 3 outbursts to convince people it's real. And, you've got guys who can go there, even among the small energy guys. 

    If you want this to change, this is the way. This is why Boston, Philly and others get preferential treatment, the league knows they could lose it at any given moment. If we do do this, please make sure Fleury is in the game so he can get his goalie fight in 😁

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    14 hours ago, Quebec1648 said:

    Foligno is not part of the future here in Minnesota, so I would be willing to trade him, especially if it helps us resign the Gus bus.

    There is no risk to losing Goose2. Quit listening to that propaganda. Goose2 will be signed, sealed, and delivered. 

    By the way, has anyone taken a look at the goalie market? Goose2 is an RFA. There are plenty of available goalies with proven track records who will be available, several for free. With the cap the way it is, this is not a good year to be a free agent goalie.

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    Current NHL top leaders by example. Start with Mark Stone.

    Begin looking for your organization’s version of this guy. Not a blue chip prospect when drafted but is able to score key goals and lead a team where it counts most. Winning. Cup clinching game and Stone personally capitalizes on the 2v1 for a SHG. Your leader and most clutch guy scores the first goal of the game and sets a tone. Exactly like O’Rielly  did when STL beat Boston.

    Foligno is a nice guy, funny in the PR videos, flies around throwing hits, and once attempted a Superman-punch. “Wears the A.” Who gives a shit??? Greenway wasn’t mean, Boldy certainly isn’t mean, Foligno isn’t mean, Ek is at least a pest, and Reaves is not really a factor.
     

    The Wild aren’t that hard to play against. They’ve got no Benn, Stone, Tkachuk, Schenn, or secondary guys like Marchment, Barbashev, Martinook, or Verhaege who can score important goals and be hard to play against behind your top lines. The Wild are too soft. A little bit of grizzl, a big moose with zero sharp teeth, a 7M-sissy wearing #12, and a handful of elite Swedes with undersized linemates.

    I think a meaner Kaprizov does better in the playoffs. Hartman is worth keeping around. Goligoski, and others like Brodin and Spurgeon aren’t scary players. Good but there’s no fear of what the Wild bring to the playoffs. Vegas just shows up and teams are worried before coughing the puck up to Stone or getting crushed by bottom-sixers leading to sweet AND greasy goals. 
     

    Foligno is an overpaid PR player, not a top class NHL captain/leader.

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    6 minutes ago, Protec said:

    Foligno is a nice guy, funny in the PR videos, flies around throwing hits, and ionce attempted a Superman-punch. “Wears the A.” Who gives a shit. Greenway wasn’t mean, Boldy certainly isn’t mean, Foligno isn’t mean, Ek is at least a pest, and Reaves is not really a factor. 
     

    The Wild aren’t that hard to play against. They’ve got no Benn, Stone, Tkachuk, Schenn, or secondary guys like Marchment, Barbashev, Martinook, or Verhaege who can score important goals and be hard to play against behind your top lines. The Wild are too soft. A little bit of grizzl, a big moose with zero sharp teeth, a 7M-sissy wearing #12, and a handful of elite Swedes with undersized linemates.

    This is the crux of our roster problem right here. Some of these guys are fine to have, but with balance, you need, especially for the playoffs, big mean guys. We have drafted for size before, in Greenway, yet nobody bothered to investigate if he was a raging bear or a teddy bear. He turned out to be pretty much the latter. 

    We've had other larger players who are simply docile. Merrill falls into that category, a bigger body who just doesn't have the strength to throw vicious hits. We also need some of those bigger guys who have a huge temper, and will lose it from time to time. 

    And this speaks directly into the point I've been making all year. If you want to change the narrative that the league can do anything to the Wild and they'll just take it and passive aggressively bitch about it, you've got to DO something to change it. You've got to be willing to embarrass the league and the referees doing the game. You've got to be willing to line brawl, goalie brawl, sit 10 guys in the penalty box if needed. The referees need to be scared of what could happen if they make bad calls. Plus, they need to fill out the extended paperwork and review of their games. And, a guy like OCL needs to fully be behind this plan, supporting his team, and challenging the league. 

    The same reputation Boston and Philly earned in the '70s still is in effect today. There are other franchises included in this, especially where referees need to be worried. 

    Why do we keep drafting teddy bears? Why aren't we drafting mean guys who can play and absolutely dismember someone with a thunderous hit which they take pride in throwing? Big hits are a part of the game and a part of playing the right way. Not having that item in your bag means you are not fully playing the right way. Remember how Reaves blew up Hronek earlier this year? It was a great open ice hit delivered legally. We need more meanness like that, which especially shows itself in the playoffs. 

    Referees started handing out participation 10s when games got out of hand because they feared Foligno and Reaves would get into it with Stars. This was not just with the Wild, they did it in other series too. Things just stayed the same since they got ahead of it, and Foligno and Reaves waited too long. And that is another problem, sometimes Evason merely needs to nod at those guys to go get 'em, and it happens with more than 10 minutes left in the 3rd. Sometimes, you simply got to start that way. 

    Some may accuse this as a throwback to '80s hockey. It's really not. It's fully using the tools you have, and our team needs a full tool box. Yes, there are times when we need "boys will be boys" games, but they're not that often. These types of games are often catalysts for getting out of team slumps. 

    Protec is absolutely right, this team is not hard to play against. They talk about being built for playoffs, but they're not, they're simply not mean enough. And it doesn't just have to be the heavy weights that do this, middle weights can also participate. Dewar and Shaw both have no problems with it. A Max Domi can bring this element at any time. We do need stronger checking and meanness. 

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    Reaves is a big physical guy, but not one that we need to keep. Other teams know all about Reaves, and they try to avoid him. No one wants to fight Reaves anymore, so that greatly limits his opportunities to contribute. 

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    ^^^

    Yeah, like Addison. If you can't play D and you only check one box to give advantage to your team, then looking for a more well rounded player or just a different player altogether is worthwhile. Balance is intrinsic to an optimized roster. Vegas didn't even use Phil Kessel. Sign that guy in MN, if for nothing else the beard.

    Just repeating this, but the formula is free to observe every Cup. Teams that display the same elements can be compared and it's obvious the Wild aren't doing it all.

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    2 hours ago, Protec said:

    Just repeating this, but the formula is free to observe every Cup. Teams that display the same elements can be compared and it's obvious the Wild aren't doing it all.

    This seems so simple to do. Yet, when looking at the strength and conditioning program the Wild do, I just don't see the strength. Do we have the wrong guys in there? I'm specifically looking at Iowa where they need to be beefing up!

    I don't really care so much if the guy is 6'5", but their weights have got to be higher, and we all know muscle is heavier than fat. Why aren't these guys looking any bigger? Their should be an emphasis on that, especially since it's on display every year around this time. Guerin knew the benefits of strength, and so did Evason.

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    Foligno and Reaves are basically the same players. Physical presence guys. I don’t see the offensive instincts too different, if given more ice time with better guys, I think Reaves could score 21 points like Moose.

    I think most people would agree it’s why we traded Greenway in part because his game was redundant and inconsistent. Foligno at least has steady hustle/drive. It’s just kinda aimless at times.

    Pat Maroon is another player in this category with Lucic. Presence guys who get around 20 points. I think if a team can get less fighting and fewer body checks but get production like Alex Killorn, Alex Tuch, Nino Neiderietter, or that type of player like a Mark Stone who has bigger offensive and game impactability without needing to run-around throwing the body as priority #1A.

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