NEWARK, NJ - A whirlwind few hours here in Newark threw the New Jersey Devils roster for a loop. First, the club traded their captain Andy Greene to the New York Islanders, in exchange for a second-round pick and David Quenneville. Then came the scratching and eventual trade of Blake Coleman to Tampa Bay for Nolan Foote and a first-round pick.
Video: RAW | Tom Fitzgerald on Greene Trade
As the Devils look to build a younger roster that will be competitive and learn to win together, centered around key pillar pieces like Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and Mackenzie Blackwood, they added another young piece with enormous potential in Nolan Foote. Here are three quick things to know about the Kelowna Rockets winger.
1. HOCKEY BLOODLINES
This is an easy one and perhaps commonly known by astute hockey fans. But Nolan Foote's family has a rich hockey history. His father, Adam, played many years in the National Hockey League for the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche. He tallied 1154 regular-season games in the league, scored 66 goals and added 242 assists for 308 points as a defenseman.
He also played in 170 NHL games, scoring seven goals and 35 assists. The elder Foote was an OHL champion in junior for Sault Ste. Marie, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist.
Foote also won a World Cup Gold Medal.
Nolan's brother, Cal, is also a big-time NHL prospect. Cal was selected 14th overall by Tampa in 2017. The defender is currently working his way up the Lightning's system, playing in Syracuse of the American Hockey League. He played junior in Kelowna just like Nolan is now.
Like his brother Cal, Nolan has worn the C for Kelowna in his final year of junior. They are technically back-to-back captains as Kelowna did not have one in the season between brothers.
2. HIGHLY DECORATED
You know now about the aforementioned "C" on his chest. But Nolan's junior career accolades do not end there. The left winger was a first-round pick, 27th overall, by Tampa in 2019.
He helped lead Canada to a gold medal in the 2020 World Junior Championship. He also earned a silver in 2016-17 at the U-17 tournament and gold at the 2017-2018 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament.
3. AN NHL SHOT
As we get more into what kind of player Nolan is, his shot is what most talent evaluators point at when discussing his upside.
Nolan told the NHL ahead of his draft year that he models his game after Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn. His vision and hockey IQ are high-end as well and his size and willingness to engage in the play make him an intriguing option to put alongside skilled centers, like a Hischier or Hughes.
"He's 6-foot-4, he scores goals, he's got an NHL shot already, he turns pro next year so we'll get to see him quicker," Interim General Manager Tom Fitzgerald said of Foote. "There's a lot to like about this player. He's a player that I thought really thrived at the World Juniors. I saw him this summer at the World Juniors camp and I was extremely impressed with the size, the hands around the net, and definitely the shot. Those type of players don't grow on trees so when that's being offered to you, you have to think. You really do."
I asked a few people in the hockey world with knowledge of Foote as a prospect and they echoed Fitzgerald's sentiments. Of his shot, one person said it is "elite."