Selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (104th overall), the 19-year-old forward stood at a healthy 6-foot-2, 200 pounds.
A year later, skating with more power at the Sabres Development Camp, Foligno has added nearly two inches in height and more than 15 pounds in weight to his frame.
“Now I just want to get faster, get quicker foot speed,” he said. “I do have the toughness and the size to one day play in the AHL, now I just have to get the speed.”
Foligno wrapped up his third season in the Ontario Hockey League, registering 39 points (14+25) in 67 games for the Sudbury Wolves in the 2009-10 campaign. He also logged a career high of 156 penalty minutes.
He now has the option of returning to the OHL for a fourth season, or has the potential to head to Portland to play for the American Hockey League’s Pirates.
“But I don’t want to even think about what I’m doing next year,” Foligno said. “Right now I’m focused on this camp.”
No matter where the young forward ends up, it will likely be the first time in a while that he has been without the guidance of his father – and former Sabres great – Mike Foligno.
Mike coached the Wolves for the last seven seasons, including all three years that his son Marcus was a part of the organization. However, on June 24, 2010 he accepted a position as an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks.
“It will be a little weird, but I’m looking forward to it – taking on a different role,” Marcus said. “If I go back it will be my fourth year and I’ll be in a leadership role as well. Without him there I’m sure I’ll still be playing my game.”
He also still has the benefit of having an older brother in the NHL, and plans to keep working this summer with the Ottawa forward.
“After this we’ll be home doing some power skating things,” Marcus said of his brother Nick. “I just have to get the speed. I was talking to Kevyn Adams earlier today and he said things happen so fast – openings can close just like that. As big guys we may have that down low power, but getting to the net is a little harder for us. That’s just it – getting faster and being able to get to pucks.”
More importantly, Marcus wants to continue growing as a hockey player and one day make a name of his own.
“I have the opportunity here and I want to make the best of it. For me it would be awesome to have my name on the Buffalo Sabres… I definitely want to make something on my own.”