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First-round pick Foudy flying through season

Jackets' No. 1 pick in 2018 draft lighting lamps in OHL

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Liam Foudy's father played professional football. His mother competed as a sprinter in the Olympic Games. Foudy himself is a champion hurdler. 

So is there anything the Blue Jackets' first-round pick in the 2018 draft can't do athletically? 

"I've never really played baseball," Foudy said. "I don't know if I'm too good at that. I've played pretty much every sport, but baseball is one I've never really tried." 

Notice he didn't say he wasn't good at it, just that he's never tried it. And why wouldn't Foudy have that confidence given his genes? 

Video: CHI@CBJ: Foudy one-times the puck past Delia

Sean Foudy played six seasons in the CFL, winning a Grey Cup, and Liam's mother France Gareau won a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Games.  

Liam Foudy could have gone any number of directions, too, but hockey was the first love. 

"Hockey is always what I wanted to do," he said. "Ever since a young age, that's what I love." 

So far, that's working out fine. After being taken with the Blue Jackets with the No. 18 overall pick of last summer's entry draft, Foudy is having the type of season expected out of first-round picks with the London Knights of the OHL.  

Through 47 games, Foudy has 30 goals and 27 assists for 57 points on a Knights team that leads the Western Conference and has a chance to go pretty far in the OHL playoffs, not to mention an opportunity to return to the Memorial Cup. 

Foudy's explosion actually started midway through last season. He moved up in the lineup after the Knights made a number of trades, and Foudy took off with 33 points in the last 30 games. 

What has led to that change after Foudy had just 22 points in his first 93 games at the OHL level? 

"Probably confidence, just having confidence in your ability," he said. "When you're younger, you're playing a bunch. When I came to London my first year and a half, I wasn't playing much. I was on the fourth line. It's the first time in your life you're not playing a lot. You have to get over that and realize it's just hockey, right?  

"Once you get the ice time and get confidence, you're back to playing how you've always played and having fun out there." 

Clearly, he doesn't lack for swagger, and that shows on the ice. One of the best goals of the year in the OHL was Foudy's audacious effort to score Jan. 27 vs. Oshawa when he came in on a shorthanded breakaway, cut to his left across the face of goal, took the left hand off his stick, reversed the puck back to the right and slid it around the goalie and into the open net with his right hand.   

It was reminiscent of Peter Forsberg's famous "postage stamp" goal that clinched the 1994 Olympic gold medal for Sweden, and it came in the midst of a 10-game goal streak in which Foudy lit the lamp 12 times. 

"I had a couple of tap-in goals and a couple of nice goals," Foudy said of the streak. Of course, the Forsberg goal fell in the latter category. "I was pretty confident. As soon as I got (the puck), it clicked in my mind I was gonna try it, and it worked out." 

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree with Foudy's brother, Jean-Luc, either, as the younger Foudy is in his first full season with the OHL's Windsor Spitfires, meaning the two play each other six times per season right now. 

As for Liam's best skill, it shouldn't be a surprise that his athleticism translates to his skating ability, which is touted as among the best in the OHL. He's also showing he can finish, whether it's in juniors or when he scored a goal during a preseason game this year in Nationwide Arena. 

As of right now, things are going just the way Foudy expected. The next step is to help the Knights win their fourth OHL crown in the past eight years and their second Memorial Cup in the past four seasons. 

"It's going as planned so far," he said of the season. "We're doing pretty well as a team right now. We're in first place. I've passed my point total from last year. Now I'm just building on previous seasons and trying to get better." 

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