That is the deadline for Darcy Regier and the Buffalo Sabres to come to terms with Marcus Foligno, their 4th round (104th overall) pick in the ’09 draft. Negotiations have gone slow, and the price tag on Foligno just got a little higher.
Foligno was just named to the OHL second all-star team, after a standout season with the Sudbury Wolves, where he posted career highs in goals (23) and assists (36) for 59 points over just 47 games. The power forward was thrilled with the selection, and has his sights set on taking the next step:
“I actually found out from (Wolves GM) Blaine (Smith) not too long ago. I didn’t know it was taking place, but to be named to the second all-star team with all those elite players is something special for me.”
“You always play to have fun, but I thought I had a good year and to get recognition for it is special. Hopefully I ended my OHL career with a good year and I still want to become a better player and person in the future as well.”
“I’ve been starting to get some workouts in, going to RHP with (Alain) Valiquette and working with him. I’ve also been visiting family and debating what’s going on with Buffalo and it looks good, but time will tell. I’m not going to Portland because I haven’t signed yet and I’m trying to get healthy.”
“My first choice is to sign with Buffalo, but if things are not agreed upon there’s not much I can do. I really want to play with Buffalo, but there’s a chance I could go back into the draft if I don’t sign by June 2.”
Foligno is a power forward with tremendous leadership skills, so it would be absolutely shocking if Regier and Pegula fail to come to terms on a contract with him.
Fellow power forward Zack Kassian made it to Portland in time to join them for the playoffs. Foligno would gain invaluable experience if he was able to join Kassian and Portland now, but the deal must be done. For now, his experience in the OHL playoffs has taught him a few lessons.
“The playoffs were the biggest learning part of the season for me. I learned not to put all the pressure on myself and play a team game and things will come your way.”
Sounds like he is speaking about Lindy Ruff’s “The System” already.
In any event, having the luxury to call upon Foligno and Kassian for call-ups next season will be a great boon for a Buffalo team on the rise – in standings and in stature.