Leafs losing on Nick Foligno sweepstakes to Eastern rival!

The Blue Jackets could move their captain and Toronto might not be the end destination…


Earlier this month, Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been sniffing around Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno in GM Kyle Dubas’ efforts to build a Stanley Cup contender. It was later confirmed by more insiders that the Leafs were indeed interested in landing Foligno, who might be up for grabs now that the Jackets are struggling and falling out of contention. 

Several teams have ticked tires about Foligno, who holds a 10-team no trade list, and many insiders believed the Maple Leafs are top candidates to land him if Columbus soon realizes it will sell at the trade deadline. 

When Simmons talked about the idea of acquiring Foligno, he revealed that the cost for the Jackets’ captain could be high as the Leafs “would have to move other assets and money, certainly Alex Kerfoot for example, maybe of the the young defensemen Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren, maybe the young sniper Nick Robertson, maybe an early-round draft pick.” And that might be what has Dubas thinking twice about the move and just too long of a pause for the New York Islanders to sweep in and grab Foligno. 

Larry Brooks of the New York Post has wondered if Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen owes it to the franchise’s future to move Foligno. Brooks believes the veteran forward would “fit perfectly into the mold of a Lou Lamoriello-Barry Trotz player” with the Islanders. 

Foligno has tallied six goals and 13 points in 36 games this season after posting 10 goals and 31 points in 67 games last season. He carries a $5.5 million cap hit in the final season of a six-year deal signed with the Blue Jackets in 2014.

Columbus has lost previously held onto pending unrestricted free agents for their playoff runs in recent seasons, including Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and rentals Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel two years ago : and we all know how it turned out. 

The Jackets are currently three points back of the final playoff spot in the Central Division and is the midst of a four-game winless skid… They face the Tampa Bay Lightning later tonight… 

Will it be time to pull the trigger?