Training camps and pre-season spend a lot of time, especially early on, sorting out the youngest players, the draft picks of recent seasons.
As the games evolve, though, there is a focus on returning players who may be on the cusp of a breakout year. That’s why people who cover the Senators are finding room in their stories and blog posts to mention players like Nick Foligno, Jesse Winchester and Peter Regin.
Foligno and Winchester were outstanding in Toronto. Regin, who may be Foligno’s main competition for a top six spot, was looking for a better effort as the team headed to Montreal for Friday’s game with the Habs.
It’s early, but one source suggested Foligno has “gained a step” while Regin has lost one, after putting on some muscle in the off-season. Foligno went through a horrible year last season, losing his mother to cancer just before camp, and then breaking his leg just as he was starting to blossom.
One source, at least, says this: Regin is a good player, had a fine year in 2009-10, but Foligno will emerge as the superior performer in this league because of his size, strength, grit and hands (Regin has hands, too, not as much of the other ingredients). Regin, the Dane, is 24. Foligno, an OHL grad, is 22. Foligno had 26 points in 61 games last season, Regin had 29 in 75. Foligno had 17 goals and 32 points the previous season, while Regin spent most of 2008-09 in Binghamton.
We’ll see. Those kinds of assessments by people who make their living in the game make it that much more fun to watch as careers unfold.