Sens take Foligno leap

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:48 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Senators can only hope Nick Foligno is a chip off the old block.

"Let's put it this way, he gets a lot of his personality from his father (former NHLer Mike Foligno)," said Senators GM John Muckler last night. "I never coached Mike Foligno, but I know him very well and I think what we've got is a great kid here who can help us."

After another playoff disappointment in the spring, the Senators want more of the type of player they picked up with the No. 28 selection in the NHL entry draft last night at GM Place.

Foligno, 18, a product of the Sudbury Wolves -- where his father Mike just happens to be the GM/coach -- has the skills and talent to get the job done for the Senators, which is why they jumped on the chance to pick him right away.

"We need more players like Nick Foligno because he plays with some sandpaper and some grit," said Muckler. "We see him as a guy who is going to be able to help us on our third line and contribute offensively. We feel good about him."

Foligno admitted he might have a bit of an advantage over the other teens in the draft because the combination of his dad's experience in the NHL and the chance to play for him in Sudbury has provided exposure to strong coaching.

FATHER KNOWS BEST

"Getting the chance to work with him has been great for me," Foligno said of his father. "He's been able to teach me some things that maybe some other people wouldn't have the chance to get.

"You think about this day a lot and you just want the chance to have it happen. To be here, with my family, and to get drafted by the Senators is just a big thrill for me. I want to show them that I am capable of playing in the NHL."

Foligno finished with 24 goals and 46 assists in 65 games with the Wolves last season. After growing up in Buffalo, the family settled in Sudbury at the end of the elder Foligno's career and it didn't matter one bit that Foligno wasn't selected by his father's old team, the Sabres.

"I wasn't thinking anything (when the Sabres drafted at No. 24)," said Nick Foligno. "I was like everybody who was sitting in those seats and I just wanted to get picked. It didn't matter to me one bit where I went.

"I'm glad the Senators decided to select me. I just want the chance to play. It's great to be going to a great hockey city like Ottawa. They've had a lot of success in that organization. They like to win and that's something I like as well. That's all I want is to win, so I feel like I'm going to get that kind of chance with the Senators."

Foligno, who wears No. 16 with the Wolves, had a big hug for his mother Janis and he told reporters that Mike was thrilled when the selection was made. But Foligno sat beside his mom on purpose.

"She was always very helpful and supportive through my career growing up and I wanted to make sure that I was next to her," said Foligno.

The Senators tried to move up in the draft, but Muckler wasn't able to find a deal to fit the club's needs. He admitted that if the Senators do make a deal for a goalie, as was rumoured yesterday, it won't involve a draft pick, so something could take place next week.

"There's no urgency here. We've got some time and we're working on some things," said Muckler.

The Senators didn't have another pick until the third round, and selected 6-foot-3, 215-lb. Eric Gryba, a Saskatoon-born defenceman playing junior hockey in Green Bay, Wis., with the 68th overall pick.

With the 91st overall selection, the Sens took 5-foot-11, 181-lb. Latvian forward Kaspars Daugavins.

Pierre-Luc Lessard, a 6-foot, 180-lb. defenceman from the QMJHL's Gatineau Olympiques, was Ottawa's fourth-round choice


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