Originally posted on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 7/3/12

There are some things in life that I’ll never, ever truly understand: quantum physics; Matt Gilroy’s play away from the puck; Nail Yakupov’s tweets (@nail10_1993); and Nick Foligno’s popularity in some segments of the series of tubes that comprise the Internet.

Case in point, here are some messageboard comments made on the thread devoted to the Foligno for Methot trade on Hfboards:

“How did this happen? Hopefully we eat our words.”

“Wake me up when this nightmare is over.”

“I’m going to puke.”

“Foligno has been getting better every year. I have a feeling we'll regret this, big time.”

“Never trade with Columbus....”

“Complete and utter *********.. No way in hell thats the best return we could for Foligno. How do we go from talking about him as a key piece in a Nash deal to him being moved straight up for Methot? I've never been so upset with Sens management.”

“If this is real it's ****.”

“My Canada Day has been ruined.”

“How the hell does the worst GM in the league consistently rip off Ottawa?”

“Whhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaatttttt???? Which direction are we going in?”

This was just the first page of the now 30 page thread.

Having written a post earlier in the offseason that championed the idea that Nick Foligno took some measured steps last season and could prove to be a viable candidate to play top six minutes next season. That, instead of pursuing expensive alternatives on the free agent market or through trade, Foligno could be promoted internally and hopefully outperform the value of his contract.

From that earlier blog post:

Proportionate to his 5v5 ice-time, of NHL forwards who played in more than 40 games, Foligno had the 37th best points-per-60 minutes rate in the league at 2.40. Of the forwards who played in 80 or more games, Foligno had the 20th best mark in the league - finishing ahead of big name offensive talents like John Tavares (2.37), Anze Kopitar (2.25), Zach Parise (2.18) and Daniel Alfredsson (2.16).

Thanks to this production rate, Foligno has improved his point totals for the second consecutive season – establishing a new career high in regular season points with 47.

Despite a career low shooting percentage of 9-percent and a 1:19 PP TOI/G mark that was the lowest that it's been since his rookie season, Foligno put up some career numbers. With some improvements in each of these areas, there was every reason to believe that Foligno could have improved upon last year’s production.

Alas, the discussion was all for naught.

Nick Foligno is packing his bags for Columbus, a spot where he will be guaranteed that elusive top-six forward ice-time that he could not capture here.

While Foligno was an incredibly efficient point producer last season (read: as his points per 60 minutes rate suggests), he may be in line for some difficult offensive stretches in Columbus.

Using HockeyAnalysis.com’s With Or Without You (WOWY) function, we can see how Nick Foligno performed playing with particular teammates in particular situations. As you can see from the respective 5v5 goals for/20 and Corsi For/20 charts, Foligno’s metrics suffer considerably when he’s removed from playing alongside second line linemates like Turris and Alfredsson – his goals for per 20 goes from 1.101 while playing with Alfie to 0.719 when they’re apart and 1.251 when he’s playing with Turris to 0.725 when they’re apart.

Interestingly, when these players are split apart, Turris and Alfie do experience drops in goal scoring production per 20 but their Corsi rates do not suffer as noticeably as Foligno’s. In other words, they’re still driving puck possession while Foligno’s not on that line.

Looking at the metrics however, it’s difficult to ignore just how efficient that Foligno/Turris/Alfredsson line was in the limited time that they played together last season. If anything, it makes you appreciate just how much Alfie's presence and performance means to the team's secondary scoring and the production of players like Turris and Foligno. (Note: when Alfie and Turris were on the ice together at 5v5, they were on for 21 GF and 12 GA. When these two were apart, Turris was on for 8 GF and 12 GA.)

While he has proven himself to be an effective player at times for the Senators, from a production point of view, fans should be more concerned about Daniel Alfredsson's playing future than Foligno's.

Should Alfie return, there's a very good chance that Guillaume Latendresse has the ability and talent to replace Foligno's production on the team's second line. Since Latendresse entered the league during the 2007/08 season, in proportion to his 5v5 ice-time, Latendresse has better goals per 60 and points per 60 rates than Foligno. He produces shots at a decent clip while shooting a consistently high percentage (his career average is 14.3% and he's never shot lower than 12% in a season). Health permitting (and Alfie permitting), he should have the opportunity and ability to approach 25 goals.

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