2016-17 Team: Kelowna Rockets (#25)
Date of Birth: December 13, 1998
Place of Birth: Englewood, Colorado
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 209 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- THW (Pike’s Picks): 13th (final)
- Future Considerations: 25th (final)
- ISS: 12th (May)
- Bob McKenzie: 18th (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 14th (final)
- The Hockey News: 16th (final)
Seemingly every draft year, there is a player with a familiar last name prominently featured in the NHL Draft rankings – usually the son of a 1990s star. Last year’s draft class was highlighted by Matthew Tkachuk, son of Keith, being selected by the Calgary Flames. Perhaps this year’s most prominent second generation player is Kelowna Rockets blueliner Cal Foote, son of Adam. While the younger Tkachuk is very similar to his father, the younger Foote is almost the exact opposite of his older counterpart – and that might be why he’s so sought after by NHL teams.
Adam Foote was a perfectly acceptable NHL defensemen. He wasn’t elite in any respect, but he combined several above-average attributes into a strong career. It’s very early, but early reviews of Cal Foote’s game suggest he may become even better than his father was at the same position.
The best description I’ve heard of Foote is “incredibly smart.” The kid has very strong instincts of what to do and where to go on the ice, to the point where it’s almost spooky. Because of these instincts, he’s incredibly steady and doesn’t get caught out of position a lot – which gives his teammates the ability to “cheat” sometimes to create odd-man rushes. He’s an effective passer and shooter who anticipates well. He’s arguably not elite at any one thing, except perhaps his ability to think the game, but he doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses either.
One comparison I’ve heard for Foote is Dougie Hamilton and it’s not a bad one. Foote’s a right shot, rangey big defenseman. He doesn’t play incredibly physical yet, but he has the frame to potentially bulk up and battle against bigger players. He’s been very good as a proverbial man among boys in the Western Hockey League. He’s likely ready for bigger challenges.
NHL Draft Projection
There has been a bit of variation in Foote’s placement in many draft rankings. He’s been as high as 9th or 10th and as far down as 25th or 26th. He’s very likely to go in the first round, but where in that first round is up in the air.
“One of the few draft-eligible players to suit up for the WHL in the Russian series, Foote comes from the most solid of hockey backgrounds. His dad is Adam Foote and while both play defense, Cal brings skill and skating instead of his father’s brute force. Needless to say, growing up in Colorado had its privileges.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News.
“Foote has the potential to be a top pairing NHL defender, but will still need time to develop. He does many things well at the junior level, but will need some time to refine his game before going to the pros.” – Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports.
- Strong hockey sense.
- Great vision.
- Effective skater.
- Uses teammates well.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to improve his shot accuracy (and power) from the point.
- Needs to use his body’s size more effectively (e.g., play “mean”).
- Could potentially improve his acceleration.
Strong second pairing defender, potential to develop as a power play quarterback if he can improve his point shot a bit. (Think Dougie Hamilton.)
Risk – 1.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 8/10, Defense 7/10
A dual citizen – born in the United States to Canadian parents – Foote cannot play for Hockey Canada until 2017-18, after he’s completed two seasons in a Canadian league. As such, he hasn’t played much high-level international hockey as of yet.
Cal Foote represented Team WHL in the recent Super Series against Team Russia.