Chances are you have yet to hear of Cal Foote, a defenseman playing in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the perennial powerhouse Kelowna Rockets.
However, in just a few years time, Foote will in all likelihood be a household name.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Cal is the son of former NHL defender Adam Foote, who played 19 seasons in the NHL between the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets, winning two Stanley Cups in the process. Foote the elder’s game was characterized by hard-hitting, physicality and sound defense, traits which provided him an incredibly successful career which spanned 1154 games.
Son Cal also plays a very similar style of game to his father, a large reason why he has found such great success early in his junior career. However, Foote has emerged as a much greater offensive threat in his time with Kelowna than his father displayed in his game.
The Scouting Report
Name: Callan (Cal) Foote
Height/ Weight: 6’3.5″/ 198 lbs
Born: December 13, 1998 (Englewood, Colorado)
Junior Club: Kelowna Rockets
Draft Status: 2017 NHL Entry Draft Eligible
Best defined as an intelligent, defense first style of player, Foote uses all the tricks in the book, a number of which he learned from his father, to play a sound game within his own zone. He uses his stick extremely well, positioning it in shooting and passing lanes to squander developing plays, while he also makes good use of his large size 13 feet (no put intended) to break up passes.
Given the large skates he fills, Foote, who is already taller than his father at the age of 17, still has room to grow. Currently listed by the Rockets as 6 foot 3 and a half, 198 pounds, Foote has tremendous size, which further allows him to play an intimidating and shutdown style of play.
Yet, despite his ever increasing size, Rockets Head Coach Brad Ralph praises Foote for his incredible mobility on the ice, an advantage which allows him to also be a pass first and truly complete player on the Kelowna blue-line.
As a result, Foote plays much more of an offensive game than his father, using his strong passing skills, as well as an under-rated shot to contribute to an already dangerous Rockets offense. In fact, despite playing as a rookie in 2015-16, Foote was still able to produce at nearly a half a point per game pace, a total which ranked second in defensive scoring on the Kelowna roster.
Foote’s true value, other than his impeccable defensive play and consistent offensive production, could be the fact that he is a right-handed shot. A capability long sought after by NHL organizations, the right-handed shot defenseman has become a rarity in the NHL game, with only 31.7% of all defenders who played 35+ games in 2014-15 shooting right.
As best said by Coach Ralph, Foote is a complete player.
Not only does he have a high level of on-ice intelligence, but he is more than capable of playing the game at both ends of the rink. An elite mobility level paired with his immense, continually increasing size makes Foote a dominating force in the defensive zone, while a strong first pass allows the Colorado native to generate offense in the opposing end of the rink.
Having enjoyed such incredible success in his rookie season, it appears as though Foote’s game will only continue to improve in coming seasons. Eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft due to a late 1998 birth date, Foote will be provided an additional season of WHL hockey to continue to fill out his large frame as well as develop into one of the League’s most dominant defenders.
If Foote continues to play and progress as he has thus far in his junior career, come the 2017 Draft, chances are he will be a high selection by an NHL team desperate for a top-pairing defenseman.
Brett Slawson is a four-year veteran of The Hockey Writers who covers the Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL prospects, and the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads.
Contact Brett on Twitter @brettslawson92, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.