In the 2019-20 Player Review series, we will evaluate the 2019-20 performances of each member of the Minnesota Wild during the regular season. Players were evaluated based on overall performance with regard to pre-season expectations and how that player performed in their particular role.
As Marcus Foligno weaved his way through his third full campaign in a Minnesota Wild sweater, he further enriched his role as a solid third-line winger who is trending further in the right direction for the club and is a great option for the future if he can find increased consistency in his production.
The numbers may not pop off the page, as he only totaled 25 total points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 59 games played during the regular season, but if we dissect those figures to a greater degree, then we can see some encouraging stuff.
The Buffalo, New York native missed 10 games over the course of the campaign, but put together his best statistical season as a professional as far as those stats are concerned, further besting his previous mark of 23 total points with what looked to be a double-digit amount of games left on the agenda before the coronavirus outbreak.
For so many players, the “what could have been” line can be fairly used, as it would even work for Foligno, who’s had a season with some streaky times, but was beginning to increase his play again before the stoppage.
Season in review
Despite the Wild having an absolutely putrid start to the regular season, Foligno had a good opening month to the campaign, totaling five points with four of those coming by way of assist. The singular goal came in a slugfest between the Wild and the Montreal Canadiens.
Foligno would find himself in the right place at the right time and notch a nifty finish into the right netting for a game-tying goal, only seconds before the second intermission. This goal would prove to be of major importance in that contest, as the Wild would eventually notch their second win of the season against the same team that knocked them off the previous week.
The next month would also get off to a promising start for Foligno. Despite the Wild suffering a 4-3 OT loss, Foligno found the back of the net in the team’s opening contest of the month. However, the door would be slammed shut on that progress, as he suffered a lower-body injury in the team’s November 8 loss to the San Jose Sharks. He didn’t return to the lineup until December 1, and there’s really no telling where the season could have gone for him if this extended time was not missed.
This was Marcus Foligno's last shift in the first period. Mild collision with Tomas Hertl and he appears to favor his right leg as he heads to the bench. pic.twitter.com/xkmnLjvRPf— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) November 8, 2019
His returning month of December was indeed a streaky one as the first three games went pointless. Then, he responded with points in the next three games. Those included assists in matchups with the Carolina Hurricanes and Anaheim Ducks as the lone goal came in a thriller on December 12 against the Edmonton Oilers.
Check him out on the play below. Foligno put himself in prime position on the rush, secured the puck and ripped a heater into the net for a crispy finish. This goal would also be a big one, as Minnesota would edge the Oilers for a much needed 6-5 victory.
GOAL. Marcus Foligno scores to give the Wild the lead once again.— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) December 13, 2019
But Foligno would only secure points in one more game over the course of the month, chalking up a three-point effort (one goal, two assists) on the road against the Arizona Coyotes on December 19.
GOAL. And just like that, Marcus Foligno gives Minnesota the lead.— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) December 20, 2019
Arguably, Foligno’s best performance of the season came in the Wild’s heartbreaking shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on January 5, as he netted a pair of goals for Minnesota in a closely contested matchup.
Shifting to February, it was a down month for Foligno, as he managed to tally just two points all month after a spectacular January. March was looking to be more of the same until Foligno was able to notch three points combined in the Wild’s final two contests, including a goal in a 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, before the season stoppage.
As previously mentioned, Foligno’s standout moment of the season might as well have come in the first period of their matchup with Calgary on January 5. The Wild were coming off an electrifying overtime victory over the Winnipeg Jets from the night before and managed to keep the momentum going. There were five total goals scored in the first period on this night, and Foligno had two of them.
The first came off a beautiful centering pass from Joel Eriksson Ek, as Foligno received the puck, skated to his left and flicked a beautiful wrister into the top right shelf to give Minnesota an early 2-1 lead.
His second goal of the night came in the midst of a scrum in front of the goal, as Foligno would put his head down, barrel through the defense and finish in a crowd.
For his role as a third-line player, Foligno did his job well as it was his personal best season statistics-wise, even with an abbreviated regular season. He made some very good progress. However, with only one year remaining on his deal with the Wild, a good performance in the postseason could be enough to earn him an extension.
If he can find his full stride, just like he did in the beginning and pretty much the whole month of January, then he will really be able to make a huge impact for the Wild in their play-in series against Vancouver. He’s a solid veteran player who’s also one of the vocal leaders in the locker room. For a team that, as a whole, probably will be making some changes to the roster at the end of the season, Foligno is a great option to keep around for the long haul.
How would you grade Marcus Foligno’s 2019-20 performance?
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