Marcus Foligno was drafted in the fourth round (104th overall) by the Sabres in the 2009 Entry Draft that was held at the Bell Centre in Montreal. With the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh just over two weeks away, Foligno recently talked with Kevin Snow of Sabres.com about his draft experience from three years ago.
What goes through your mind leading up to the draft?
You’re always nervous; it’s the start of a new chapter in your life. The night before I was drafted, I was sitting in my hotel room trying to get to bed, but there wasn’t too much sleep that night. It was something I couldn’t wait for - to be part of an NHL team. When Buffalo took me it was an unbelievable feeling. Right when I had my name called, I don’t even remember what I was thinking. I just remember hugging my family and walking down the stairs to the draft floor. Everything was kind of a blur with all the cameras and pictures being taken. Right from the get go there’s so much going through your head – what if this happens, what if that happens. When it was all said and done it was a great feeling.
What advice did you get from your brother Nick?
He said to have fun with it because being drafted is a fun process. To watch everyone on the floor and the teams picking is a pretty neat thing to be a part of. Nick knew I was projected to go a little later than he was (Nick was drafted 28th overall by Ottawa in the 2006 Entry Draft), so he told me not to worry and have fun with everything. All that matters is whatever team you go to, it’s really important to have a good training camp and be the best possible player for that team. Once the draft is over, the hard stuff starts. His words meant a lot to me.
Did you give a lot of thought to your draft day wardrobe?
My sisters picked out my shirts and ties for both days. I had one suit for Round One on Friday and another for the second day. My mom and sisters kept telling me ‘If you look good you’ll play good.’ It’s not totally true, but you just want to look good on a special day. And obviously getting drafted was a very special day for me.
Is it tough to watch guys get picked ahead of you that you know you are better than?
I was actually frustrated a couple of times early on, but you learn pretty quickly that’s just the way it goes. Certain players will go ahead of you for whatever reason, but you can’t let it get to you. I just had to bite my lip a few times. But it just makes you that much hungrier. Some guys were getting picked ahead of me, and it was getting tougher and tougher as the numbers were going by. But in the end when your name gets called, you suddenly don’t care who went first or who went 10th. It doesn’t matter anymore because now you’re part of an NHL team, and you’ve reached the first part of your goal. It is a tough process because you always want to be the best – from myself I demand the best – so it would be weird not to expect that from myself. Going 104th overall didn’t matter to me because I was going to an NHL team, and to a pretty good one that.
Was Buffalo a team on your radar – had you met with them prior to the draft?
I never actually talked to them; I just knew they were at my games a lot. I remember playing Belleville in the playoffs, and I knew they had scouts at the first two games so I wanted to play well. I’d had some talks with the Rangers, and my agent told me about a few other teams that were interested. Buffalo was always around but we never talked. With the history of my dad playing in Buffalo, I always thought it would be cool if they took me. When they called my name my dad was obviously pretty excited.
How did you celebrate afterwards?
We had a nice dinner with my parents, sisters and some other family that were there. My dad loves Italian food, and he knew some guys at great Italian restaurant in Montreal that he’d been to before. It was good to finally relax once the day was over with. All the years of hard work had finally paid off, and I had been drafted. You want to take some time to enjoy it with family and friends, and that’s exactly what I did.