After making a trade to acquire Riley Nash on Friday, Toronto Maple Leafs general manger Kyle Dubas made a major move by acquiring Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno in exchange for a first-round pick in 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2022. There was a third team involved in the deal as the San Jose Sharks received the Maple Leafs fourth-round pick in 2021 as the Maple Leafs get forward Stefan Noesen.
Cap Friendly reports that the Maple Leafs will be paying $1,375,000 of Foligno’s $5.5 million contract.
Both the Blue Jackets and the Sharks will retain 50% of Foligno’s salary. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the Sharks serve as a “cap broker”, which is why they received a fourth-round pick for taking on salary.
Maple Leafs Add Strong Leader and Two-Way Player
Foligno had a career best 73 points in 2014-15, but his production has declined since. Many may say that the Maple Leafs gave up a significant price with their first-rounder for a player who only has 16 points in 42 games in 2020-21. However, giving up a potential late first-round pick in a weaker draft class is a smart move in addition to two mid-round picks to both teams. They are in a spot where they can pay the price, while still keeping their top prospects in the system.
Foligno brings a strong leadership presence and experience to the Maple Leafs as he has proven to be a difference maker. His playoff experience shouldn’t go unnoticed. The Blue Jackets have surprised many in the playoffs, including the Maple Leafs where Foligno recorded six points in 10 games during the 2019-20 playoffs. His size and physicality makes them tougher up front and he still earns significant minutes, averaging 18:09. He’s proven to be reliable in his own end and is valuable on the penalty kill.
As the Maple Leafs make a push for the Stanley Cup, bringing in Foligno’s two-way play is just what the team was looking for as he can be a strong middle-six addition. He can be physical and chip in offensively every now and then. The Maple Leafs saw first hand at what he can do in the playoffs and they acted on bringing him into the fold.
Noesen brings depth and edge to his game as he’s a physical player. He has played in five games for the Sharks in 2020-21 and hasn’t recorded a point. In the American Hockey League with the San Jose Barracuda, he has six points in 12 games. He could be another strong option for the fourth line.
Blue Jackets Heading for Rebuild
The Blue Jackets are in full-on sell mode as they enter a rebuild. They already moved on from one of their key defenseman in David Savard and now parted ways with their captain. Acquiring an extra first-round pick and a fourth is going to help them boost their prospect pool and jump start the process.
Foligno has been an integral part of the Blue Jackets both on and off the ice. He’s had great success with the team in the past and the fan base will not forget what he has done.
Salary Cap information from Cap Friendly.
Peter is in his third year with The Hockey Writers, covering the Toronto Maple Leafs and heading the Draft and Prospects section. He has previously interned at The Hockey News and worked on Toronto Marlies broadcasts for Rogers TV. He currently is the co-host of the podcast Sticks in the 6ix and a frequent guest on Maple Leafs Lounge. Aside from hockey, he also enjoys drumming, animation and impressions/ voices.