On Saturday (July 31), the Edmonton Oilers signed restricted free agent forward Warren Foegele to a three-year contract worth $8.25 million. Edmonton had acquired Foegele from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenceman Ethan Bear on Wednesday (July 28).
A 25-year-old product of Markham, Ont., Foegele scored 10 times and added 10 assists in 53 games with Carolina last season and has totaled 35 goals and 33 assists over 200 career NHL regular-season games. He has seven goals and five helpers in 33 playoff appearances with the Hurricanes, who drafted Foegele 67th overall in 2014.
The addition of Foegele and Zach Hyman, the former Toronto Maple Leafs forward that Edmonton signed to a seven-year, $38.5 million deal on Wednesday, transforms the left wing from a weaker position to one of strength for the Oilers.
Foegele has a reputation as an offensive driver who is defensively responsible and never takes a shift off. He stands 6-foot-2, weighs 198 pounds, and shoots left. Here are five other things to know about Foegele.
He’s Already One of the Guys
Foegele has been training this offseason in suburban Toronto with several Oilers, including Hyman, defenceman Darnell Nurse and forwards Connor McDavid and Devin Shore. It was, in fact, during a session with his new teammates that he learned of the trade on Wednesday.
“It’s funny, I was on the ice when it happened and a bunch of the guys already knew,” Foegele said in a Zoom interview. “When I got off the ice, (Shore) pulled up his phone and he was like, ‘You’re here!’ and I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ It was a pretty crazy day and it’s been a lot of fun.”
He Was Drafted Twice in the Same Year
Foegele was passed over in the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, not just once but in both 2012 and 2013. It took until the seventh round in 2014 before Foegele would finally be drafted into the OHL by the Kingston Frontenacs with the 135th overall pick. That happened on April 5, 2014, four days after his 18th birthday and a dozen weeks before the Hurricanes would call his name in the third round.
Related: NHL Draft War Room: Warren Foegele
Apparently, OHL teams had felt Foegele, who stood somewhere between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-9 and weighed around 140 pounds, was too small for junior hockey. But after packing on more than 30 pounds and growing several inches, Foegele finally got scouts’ attention during the 2013-14 season, when he piled up a ridiculous 58 goals and 49 assists in 52 games playing high school hockey for St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, Ont. At. St. Andrew’s annual tournament, all 30 NHL clubs had sets of eyes watching Foegele.
He’s a Playoff Performer
Starting at St. Andrew’s, where his team won literally everything it could in 2013-14, Foegele has enjoyed postseason success at every stop on his hockey journey. Over the last six seasons, a stretch that spans the OHL, American Hockey League, and NHL, the team Foegele plays for has won at least one playoff series.
Foegele’s greatest playoff run came in 2017 after being traded from Kingston to the Erie Otters midway through the regular season. Foegele led the Otters to the league championship and received the Wayne Gretzky ’99’ Award as OHL playoff MVP after notching 13 goals and 13 assists in 22 games.
He also reached the OHL conference semifinals in 2016 with Kingston and the AHL Division Finals playoffs with the Charlotte Checkers in 2018. While he was a part of the Hurricanes, Carolina won four series (first and second round in 2019, qualifying round in 2020, first round in 2021).
In 2019, Foegele scored for Carolina 17 seconds into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Washington Capitals, becoming the sixth rookie in NHL history to score in the opening 20 seconds of a playoff game.
Foegele has appeared in 33 NHL postseason games, which is 12 more than Edmonton as a franchise has played in the last 15 years. The only players on the Oilers’ current roster with more NHL playoff experience are Cody Ceci, Duncan Keith, Kris Russell, and Kyle Turris. Of those four, Russell is the only one to suit up for a postseason game as a member of the Oilers.
He’s a Hoops Junkie
It’s fitting Foegele began his NHL career in the hoops hotbed of North Carolina because his favorite sport other than hockey is basketball.
That nugget of information comes courtesy of the 2020-21 Hurricanes media guide, in which Foegele also lists the Toronto Raptors as his favorite team and NBA 2K as his favorite video game and names Los Angeles Lakers megastar LeBron James as the person he’d most like to meet.
Following the 2019 postseason, Foegele was among a handful of Hurricanes who toured the University of North Carolina’s men’s basketball facilities and met hall of fame head coach Roy Williams. Foegele represented his favorite team, who were in the midst of their National Basketball Association championship run by sporting a Raptors Kawhi Leonard jersey.
Hoops run in the Oilers family. Nurse’s sister Kia Nurse plays for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women’s National Basketball Association and is a member of the Canadian Olympic women’s basketball team. Caleb Jones, recently traded by Edmonton to the Chicago Blackhawks, is son of former Raptors forward Ron “Popeye” Jones.
He Knows How to Make an Entrance
In his very first NHL game, against the Ottawa Senators at PNC Arena on March 26, 2018, Foegele scored the opening goal, giving Carolina a 1-0 lead at 18:52 of the first period. The primary assist on that goal was picked up by none other than Derek Ryan, who also joined the Oilers last Wednesday, signing a two-year contract with Edmonton. Foegele later assisted on Carolina’s game-winning goal by Valentin Zykov, making Foegele the fifth player in franchise history to record a multi-point game in his league debut.
For an encore, Foegele scored the next night, in his first NHL road game, a 4-3 loss for the ‘Canes to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. Ryan assisted on that goal, too.
Edmonton fans hope Foegele’s Oilers debut is just as successful and won’t have to wait long to see the new forward in action. The Oilers open their 2021-22 schedule hosting the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place on Oct. 13.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.