Once considered one of the top prospects in the Blue Jacket system, 2018 first round pick Liam Foudy has struggled to find his way in the NHL thus far. He was able to stick around last season due to injuries, and even played pretty well in the second half of last season – but, was it enough to earn him a job this fall?
LW Liam Foudy
6’2″, 188 pounds
2022-23 stats: 62GP, 7G, 7A, 14Pts. -26, 8 PIMs
Acquired: Drafted 1st round (#18 overall), 2018 NHL Draft
Contract: signed $762k through 2023-24 (one-way)
Role: Fringe roster candidate
Foudy did stick around with the team after training camp last season, at least partially due to the fact that sending him down to Cleveland would require waivers. After the injuries started to pile up, he was able to earn some ice time – though he struggled mightily at first, scoring just 3 assists in his first 35 games. But he did improve after scoring his first NHL goal on February 18, and a more confident Liam Foudy had a strong finish to the season.
That said, even a confident, somewhat productive Liam Foudy, seems to be a long shot to make this team’s roster this fall. At this stage of his career, he’s a 23 year old former first round pick that has managed just 7 goals and 19 points in 89 NHL games. A big part of his struggles are due to injuries he’s suffered, but at some point you have to question if those injuries have cost him valuable development, and a future with this team.
With the way the Jackets have drafted and developed over the last few seasons, it’s hard to view Liam as anything more than a speedy bottom-six player who can possibly add some quality minutes in his own end, and play on the penalty kill. Even in that role, there might be better options for this team as they transition from bottom feeder to playoff contender. To this point, he hasn’t shown the skill or confidence required to be a top-six player in this league, and while that could still happen, it seems to be a long shot.
Three keys to success:
- Make the team. This will be no easy task this fall, as we count no fewer than 17 skaters legitimately vying for 13-14 jobs up front for the Jackets.
- Accept your role. There’s very little chance Liam is going to play in the top-six, so it’s important for him to step up and do the little things. Throw the body around, use his speed to put opposing defenders on their heels, and play safe hockey.
- Earn trust. He has to do all of those little things consistently, and play within himself. Get pucks into corners, win board battles, and block shots on a nightly basis. Doing so could earn him favor with Mike Babcock, who relies on 200ft players to round out his lines.
We are far from writing off Liam Foudy as an NHL player, but it’s not hard to see how he could be one of the 4-5 players cut from this forward group this fall. This could be an example of a player who needs a change of scenery to possibly take off and establish himself in the NHL. Likely, Liam is battling directly with Eric Robinson for a job in the bottom-six. Both players are speedy up-and-down options that bring size and a touch of skill. It may come down to the team deciding on a known entity with some experience (Robinson); or the less expensive, possibly higher upside option (Foudy).