In just a few weeks the Buffalo Sabres will hit the ice at HARBORCENTER for training camp. This year it’s playoffs or bust for most fans; but is the roster talented enough for the Sabres to end its five year playoff drought?
As camp draws near, 7ABC will take a closer look at the training camp roster and put together our list of the “Top 20 Talents.”
Here’s the criteria on how the rankings will be established:
-Overall Skill Level
-Age, improving/declining ability
On to the countdown:
No. 18 - LW Marcus Foligno
Why he's here:
Good teams can roll three lines. Great teams can roll four. If the Sabres are going to take the next step, players like Marcus Foligno need to make an impact. In 2015, Foligno spent most of the year on a line with Johan Larsson & Brian Gionta. The three put up pretty strong numbers, especially late in the season. Foligno finished the year with 23 points, the most of his career. The 25-year-old forward was on the ice for four more goals for than goals against -- making him one of the few Sabres with a positive +/-.
Welcome back, #82!
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) July 14, 2016
The addition of Kyle Okposo and return of Tyler Ennis makes you wonder if the Foligno-Larsson-Gionta line will stay together. They are too talented to be a “typical” fourth line — but may not have the scoring prowess with some new weapons on the roster to be an ideal third line. If they don’t stay together, Foligno will still need to contribute offensively, while staying consistent in his own end. This offseason Foligno signed a new one-year contract worth $2.25M. At the end of the 2016-2017 season he’ll be a restricted free agent.
I think Foligno has similar numbers this year to what we saw last season. If he’s not playing with Larsson and Gionta the numbers will likely drop -- but if he’s still consistent in the Sabres end he’ll earn his new contract. His long term future with the organization remains up in the air, but I expect to see Foligno in blue and gold for two more seasons.
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