It was a one-game sample size, but it was a good one.
Liam Foudy, the 18th overall pick for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2018, got to touch the Nationwide Arena ice for a real game for the first time in his career on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Real game, meaning not preseason, which is Foudy’s only other experience with the Blue Jackets so far in his young career. The 20-year-old is currently with the London Knights in the OHL, and was an emergency recall on Sunday evening due to a Cam Atkinson lower-body injury.
For a team that has been hit hard by the injury bug, the Blue Jackets called up Foudy to provide a much-needed offensive spark. Though he didn’t show up on the score sheet, his overall play was encouraging.
In his 10:28 ice time on Monday night, Foudy registered two shots, one hit, one takeaway and a 57.1 CF%.
The young Canadian even found himself on the ice with less than two minutes remaining in the contest during a tied game as the Blue Jackets pressed for a go-ahead goal, showing the trust head coach John Tortorella already has in the young forward.
Foudy passed the eye test as well. He was able to break through the neutral zone on several occasions for odd-man rushes, even beating Lightning defensemen to the puck on offensive dump-ins. A shot he had on net in the second period had a solid chance at being a goal, getting barely caught inside the blocker of opposing goaltender Curtis McElhinney.
The only real slip-up of the night was an offensive zone turnover Foudy committed late in the third period. During a time in which Columbus was cycling well, Foudy forced a pass to the slot which was picked off and taken the other way. Thankfully (for the Blue Jackets and Foudy) the Lightning didn’t score.
No one has played perfect game - and if that was the only real slip-up Foudy had, and you take a look at the other bright spots of his night, it was an overall successful NHL debut. He also had to go ahead the juggernaut that is the Tampa Bay Lightning - certainly not an “ease-in” matchup.
With injured Atkinson and Josh Anderson being bonafide starters upon their return, we may not see Foudy on the ice for the Blue Jackets come late March or early April, but it’s fair to believe he made his mark to be in the running for a starter spot in October.
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