COLUMBUS -- Liam Foudy was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the No. 18 pick of the 2018 NHL Draft largely because of his speed. Now the 19-year-old forward prospect wants to be on the fast track to the NHL.
With the Blue Jackets restocking their forward lines after losing unrestricted free agents Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel and signing Gustav Nyquist, there will be openings, and Foudy will be after one of them at training camp in September.
"Every year you have to come in trying to make the team," Foudy said during Blue Jackets development camp in June. "If you don't have that mentality, you won't make the team. If you don't think you have a chance, you won't have a chance."
Foudy (6-foot, 175 pounds) had 68 points (36 goals, 32 assists) in 62 games last season for London of the Ontario Hockey League. He is known for his quickness, especially his first two strides, but Blue Jackets director of player personnel Chris Clark said Foudy needs to improve in several areas before he can be considered NHL-ready.
"He's got speed, but if you're fast, it doesn't matter, a defenseman can judge speed," Clark said. "It's the change of speed. That's something he's been working on the last year or so that we've been talking to him about.
"Also, using his speed all the time. He doesn't realize how fast he is, how scary that is for a defenseman or a defender to see that speed. He's got to challenge defensemen, challenge guys, take pucks to the net. That's something he's developed over the last half of [last] season as well."
Video: CHI@CBJ: Foudy one-times the puck past Delia
Following his season with London in April, Foudy scored two goals in eight playoff games on loan to Cleveland of the American Hockey League.
"Now I understand what it's like playing against these guys," Foudy said. "It's a lot different than playing against a 16-year-old. It was big to know where I'm at compared to them. They're obviously older. They're a lot stronger."
Though Foudy's stock continues to rise within the organization, if he doesn't make the Columbus roster he would have to return to London; he's ineligible to play in the AHL this season because he isn't 20 years old.
Foudy said he doesn't expect his progress to be stymied by another season in juniors, if that's where he winds up.
"Having that rule has brought some good players [to the OHL] that just aren't quite good enough to play in the NHL yet," he said. "It helps a lot. It makes the development a lot better in the OHL. You're playing against some top guys. I don't have a big problem with it."
Foudy has played left wing and right wing and at center, a position of need for the Blue Jackets.
"Just playing in the NHL would be exciting for me," he said. "It doesn't matter what position, really."