For the Columbus Blue Jackets, the season is only five games young. In these five games, the Jackets have managed to get off to a modest 3-2-0 start. Ryan Johansen has 3 goals, Fedor Tyutin has a +4, and Nick Foligno has 7 (!) points.
That’s not a misprint; Foligno has found the back of the net twice, and has assisted on five other goals. This isn’t NHL 15, and Foligno isn’t playing with a modified controller. He is producing in real life for the Blue Jackets.
There are some reasons for why Foligno is off to a sensational start.
Exhibit A: He corrals the puck around the net, and goals happen.
Ryan Johansen was able to stuff the puck into the net because Foligno was able to set the whole operation up. If the Blue Jackets were to reenact Ocean’s Eleven, Foligno would be Danny Ocean — setting up the whole operation, and garnering all the assists. [I know, it’s a terrible movie reference; I’ll show myself out after this article is finished]
But before I go, let’s look at more evidence at why Foligno is the centerpiece to the Blue Jackets offense.
I’ll Take ‘Help From My Friends’ for $1000, Alex
As mentioned above, Foligno has five assists. The video above showed the Foligno assist to a Johansen goal against the Dallas Stars, but what you may not have known is that Foligno has an assist in every game this season. Using shoddy probability — and by shoddy, I mean taking his 1.00 assist/per game average, and multiplying it by 82– Foligno will end with 82 assists this season. Who knows, Foligno may get hotter (which would be fantastic for the Blue Jackets) as the season progresses. But one thing is for certain: five Blue Jacket goals would’ve been in jeopardy if Foligno wasn’t there with the assist.
When Opportunity Knocks
At the moment, Brandon Dubinsky is out with an injury; so is Nathan Horton. If Foligno was going to make a statement, now would’ve been the time.
#CBJ Brandon Dubinsky lost for 6 weeks after abdominal surgery this morning.
— Rusty Miller (@RustyMillerAP) October 8, 2014
When the Dubinsky injury was announced on the eve of the regular season, the question was who was going to step up. Foligno easily has become the who. This shouldn’t be a surprise, though. Foligno did score an overtime playoff goal against the Penguins last season, and was a factor in the Blue Jackets run to the postseason.
Exhibit B: Foligno can score goals in crunch time (Game 4 of Eastern Quarterfinals vs. Pittsburgh)
Exhibit C: Foligno can score goals on the slide
Basically, when the goal opportunity comes knocking, Foligno answers the door, and scores by any means necessary. He is the NHL’s version of MacGyver. Instead of duct tape and a Swiss Army Knife, Foligno has skates and a stick.
Even though it seems like Foligno’s hot start is straight out of a video game, it’s nothing to be surprised about. In the past, we’ve seen glimmers of what he can do. Even in his Ottawa Senator days, he showed the potential to be a breakout star. Now with the right components in Columbus, Foligno is just a piece of the Jarmo Kekalainen symphony. However, he has the spotlight — the solo — at the moment.
And that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.