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Winnipeg Jets Top 25 Under 25: #24 Erik Foley

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There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of our fears and the summit of our knowledge. It is an area which we call the Top 25 Under 25.

We don't have a picture of Erik Foley in the system, so here's Director of Pro Scouting Mark Dobson instead.
We don't have a picture of Erik Foley in the system, so here's Director of Pro Scouting Mark Dobson instead.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Rank

DOB

Acquired

Pos

Allan

Andy

Philip

Daniel

Ryan

Cara

Ian

Brian

Tim

24

1997/06/30

#78, 2015

LW

23

26

24

25

26

26

17

26

19

Previous Rank: n/a

Ed. Note: Not all authors assigned definite rankings beyond their Top 25. In these cases, an automatic score of 26 was given.

The 2015 NHL Entry Draft continues its strong start, with 3rd round selection Erik Foley coming in at #24. Selected by the Winnipeg Jets at 78th overall, the organization brought this stout left winger into the fold a bit later than most had him rated, which is always nice:

Final Rankings

#41, Hockeyprospect.com

#51, NHL Central Scouting NA Skaters

#64, Future Considerations

#69, McKeen's Hockey

#88, ISS Hockey

Thanks to our friends at SB Nation College Hockey, we have some insight into Erik Foley's game from his junior coach in Cedar Rapids, Mark Carlson:

"He just shows up to play everyday. I never had to get on him to play harder," said Carlson. "He competes his tail off every day. His drive and passion comes through a lot."

"He's so good at puck protection. He plays well down low, goes to the net. He's relentless with and without the puck"

Considering his solid showing at the 2015 NHL Draft Combine, the statement that Erik Foley is good at puck protection probably shouldn't come as too big a surprise. Foley ranked 4th overall in Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Right, 7th in the Force Plate: Vertical Jump, tied for 2nd when it came to bench press reps (at 17) and tied for 3rd in consecutive pull-ups (with 12). Depending on the fitness test, this put him in the conversation along with prospects such as Colin WhiteBrendan Guhle and Jack Eichel (for the record, an explanation of the fitness tests can be found here and especially here). Long story short, the kid is strong, but rest assured we wouldn't be talking about him here today if that was all he brought to the table.

Stats:

After attending the Tabor Academy New England Prep School, Foley proceeded to tear it up in the USHL last season. Among all U19 players, his 54 points put him 10th overall, but when you narrow things down to U18 skaters Foley rose all the way to 2nd, behind only a certain Vancouver 1st rounder. That's not bad at all for a 5'11" kid known more for his tenacity than natural offensive ability, and it strengthened his case going into this prospect ranking.

AIH Authors' Thoughts:

Andrew

Erik Foley is a prototypical, in your face winger who doesn't back down and makes an opposing goalie's life hell! Making the final cut for the USA's World Junior Team would send this left winger's confidence soaring. Let's hope he uses the experience to his advantage and works on his overall game.

Brian:

Erik Foley seems to be a "swiss army knife" type of player. Stick him anywhere in the lineup and he'll succeed similar to Michael Frolik, just with a lot more sandpaper. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a nice scoring touch though. Last season he amassed 54 points in 55 games and the leading scorer on a pretty good Cedar Rapids team. Foley seems to project as a bottom six winger that can easily slide up in the lineup due to injuries.

Tim:

Erik Foley is largely an unknown to many, but he isn't a prospect without merit. Foley is noted for his work ethic and the grit that he plays with, but he also has a solid scoring touch and a quality shot. The big tell for Foley, much like the Jets other NCAA prospects will be how they fair against the bigger, stronger and older competition in the college ranks. The next year will provide Foley with an opportunity to shoot up the ranks.

Philip

Erik Foley may be undersized for his self-described power forward role, but he's a solid 5'11", 191 pound winger who at 18 years of age, has time to grow a little bigger and stronger yet. He's unafraid of skating both at the opposition, and in and amongst traffic. When he has the puck, he possesses the offensive awareness to use defenders to his advantage, using them to screen the goalie and hide his shot. Without the puck, Foley has a knack for finding himself just enough space to make things happen if and when it reaches him. In part because of his physical, power forward style, he's used to making things happen quickly in tight spaces, a trait which will help him succeed at the next level. He's got a pretty decent release, and once he's moving he's hard to stop.

While it is effective against his current peers, one wonders if his shot selection is sufficiently deceptive to succeed at the NHL level. Skill-wise, how much does he have in the tool box? I'm actually fairly confident of his individual offensive decision-making, but how much awareness of his teammates does he possess and how able is he to consistently execute playmaking ability (though he does acknowledge this as something to work on)? Foley is able to build up speed, but he isn't especially agile and I'm not entirely convinced of his skating ability overall. I have no doubt of his willingness and motor, but will size be an issue given his style of play? It will be harder to bully his way to the net against NHL defencemen, and they'll make him pay the price.

There are a number of things which need to improve in Erik Foley's game. How he progresses in those areas will determine whether his ceiling is that rare breed of compact, effective middle six power forward, a fourth line energy guy in the Eric Nystrom mold, or the undersized second coming of Joey Crabb.

Allan:

Thanks again Sweeney!

Scouting Reports:

Patrick Allen, Hockey's Future:

Despite being a modest 5’11 Erik Foley doesn’t let his size stand in the way of playing an agitating and relentless style of hockey.

Curtis Joe, EliteProspects:

An offensive winger who knows how to take opposing players out of the play. Can play an agitative game, but is at his best when recognizing opportunities and taking advantage of them. A good skater who has the right amount of skill to do what he can to help his team every night; on the other hand, does not possess the biggest body, so can be ineffective in his role at times.

Shane O'Donnell, Litter Box Cats:

Foley is a strong forward who has excellent strength and balance, especially with the puck along the wall. He also has deceptive speed, along with a pro-caliber shot and good offensive instincts. He does need some work defensively, like most prospects his age, but certainly shows a desire to get better in his own zone. The biggest question mark to the Massachusetts native's game is the fact that he doesn't have the high end skill of a player such as Jeremy Bracco or Conor Garland. Still, a gritty player who uses his talents to the fullest and gets results is a good pick up in the third round of the draft.

Ross Bonander, The Hockey Writers:

...he envisions himself as a power forward. At 6’0″ some might consider him on the small side of that role, but he certainly doesn’t play that way, embracing the physical game while showing an ability to drive hard to the net or score from the hash marks with a blistering wrist shot.

U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp Tweets:

Video:



Much like #25 ranked Sami Niku, Erik Foley has a good sense of what his game's strengths are: "I'm a power forward...I like to use my speed and my strength, and win pucks in the corners". These are on display in the above on-ice videos, though there is a certain sameness to the highlighted chances which perhaps doesn't do Foley's offensive game justice.

Summary:

If what has been seen and read is to be believed, the Winnipeg Jets may have more than we bargained for in Erik Foley, and in the best possible way. At the very least, thanks to his performance at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp and our ranking him at #24, Foley's new beginning as a Jets prospect is off to a flying start. Let's look to see if he can continue this momentum at Providence College and, perhaps, the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship as well. Should Foley develop a "big-game player" reputation, that would surely keep his star rising both within and without the organization.