Nick Foligno is becoming a regular guest on NHL Tonight.
On Wednesday night, Foligno joined the NHL Network crew to discuss a slew of topics on the upcoming Columbus Blue Jacket season. His time started off with a question he has likely been asked hundreds of times this offseason.
How in the world will the Blue Jackets survive with all of their free agents loses? Foligno came prepared to answer, obviously.
"I really feel like those guys had every right to leave, I'm still friends with them, I wish them all the best. But as a teammate and leader of this team, I want guys here who want to be here and I think what we're building is special," said Foligno. You want guys here who want to do that. They don't want to be? We get guys in here that do."
Obviously, Foligno was as polite as he could be on national television without saying "Seeya, but don't let the door hit you on the way out." He knows that the team he wants is the team right in front of him, and perhaps the lack of drama of free agency uncertainty this upcoming season will be a bigger deal than most think.
"It brings such an element to your team when you have everyone bought in. There's no trying to figure out how it's going to go, everyone buys into their roles, and away we go. I think a lot of people are wondering how it's going to go for our team this year with new faces and with guys stepping up into new roles, but that's how you grow. I think we need a breath of fresh air in some aspects to really get to that next level, and that's a Stanley Cup."
With the lower-than-normal expectations on the club heading into next season, you already know Foligno can't wait to hammer home the 'underdog' title to his teammates.
..."Another great opportunity for everyone thinking that with the departures, we're going to be down and out, to prove everyone wrong. That's a great chip to have on your shoulders.
Obviously, those free agency voids still need to be filled up at some capacity, though. Foligno shared his thoughts on how the team will combat this. From specific players...
"Josh Anderson, who I think is going to get better. Oliver Bjorkstrand took huge steps in the playoffs. He's finally understanding himself as an NHL player and wants he needs to bring on a nightly basis. Cam Atkinson is a superstar that doesn't get talked about often enough as far as I'm concerned."
To understanding that depth and balance can be crucial...
"I think we have one of the better back ends in the league depth-wise and when you look at our top four and who else is fighting to stay in the top 6. I really like the way we're made. its gonna be by committee, which is fun. it's not the same guy every night, its everybody having to contribute. I think you feel more responsible and helping your team."
I think we need a breath of fresh air in some aspects to really get to that next level, and that's a Stanley Cup."– Nick Foligno
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