The 2013-14 season will see the Buffalo Sabres send a team onto that ice that will likely look little like the one they sent out to start the 2013 season. Jason Pominville and Robyn Regehr were traded away this season, and many pending free agents could be finding new homes elsewhere. The Sabres have a great deal of young talent ready to make the jump, and should see another big season from Marcus Foligno, who has been one of their strongest depth players.
Foligno won’t ever find himself near the top of the league in scoring, but he has shown an ability to chip in a few timely goals for the Sabres and his value goes far beyond that. He plays a physical game, isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and plays hard every shift. A player like Foligno is a strong asset, as he has shown an ability to get under opponent’s skin while still playing smart hockey. He impressed early on for the Sabres, scoring six goals in 17 games during the 2011-12 season. The lockout saw him head back to the AHL to join the Rochester Americans, where he had 10 goals and 27 points in 30 games before heading back to the Sabres. Foligno scored five goals and had 18 points for the Sabres this season while missing only one game, and managed a minus-4 rating on a team that struggled mightily for most of the season.
The Sabres have one year left on Foligno’s entry-level contract, but don’t be surprised if they get him signed to an extension before that deal ends. He’s proven his value and has a great hockey pedigree, and while he’s in for a bit of a raise he’s exactly the kind of player this rebuilding Sabres team can’t afford to walk away from.