Liam Foudy is another player who benefited from the CHL’s trade deadline, in this because it afforded him a lot more opportunity when his London Knights became sellers. As a result, he saw a huge spike in his offence in the second half of the season. Foudy is a terrific skater and can speed past opponents with ease. However, the dichotomy of the two halves of his season did reveal that he struggles in an energy role, and over the course of his whole season he was consistently scored on more than his line scored.
Nevertheless, his speed and hands show such promise that teams will be willing to let the other areas of his game develop. We’ve got Foudy at no. 80 on our Top 100 list.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.61 / February 4, 2000
- Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
- Frame: 6-foot-0 / 161 lbs
- Position: Centre
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: London Knights (OHL)
Foudy, a Toronto native, was drafted 18th overall by the London Knights in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection. He played a full season in London the following year, tallying 15 points in 58 games. He’s drawn the attention of Hockey Canada on numerous occasions, and has suited up for Canada for the Under-17 and Under-18 tournaments over the past couple of years. He also made an appearance in the 2018 CHL Top Prospects game.
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Statistically, Foudy stands out mainly in SEAL adjusted scoring and pGPS XLS%, while struggling in goal ratio statistics, particularly relative to his teammates.
Foudy started the year as a depth player with the Knights, who are traditionally loaded up front. He was tasked with playing more of an energy role, and struggled therein. He had just seven points in his first 35 games. As mentioned in the opening however, everything changed at the OHL trade deadline. London, acknowledging that they were well back in the standings, dealt their star forwards, all NHL prospects, including Robert Thomas (St. Louis), Cliff Pu (Buffalo), Max Jones (Anaheim), and Sam Miletic (Pittsburgh), resulting in Foudy being thrust into a top six role. He took the opportunity and ran with it, scoring 33 points over his last 32 games.
One of the statistical areas in which he was lacking in the percentile chart above is INV%, or Involvement Percentage. Through the first half of the season, Foudy didn’t contribute much to the Knights’ offence, nor was he really even present when it was occurring. During the second half, however, he was involved in a tremendous proportion of the team’s 5-on-5 goals.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
The SEAL chart above demonstrates how lopsided Foudy’s situational scoring was this season. A large chunk (nearly 75%) of his points came at even strength, but rather than power play offence accounting for the remainder (as would be the norm), Foudy put up some impressive short handed numbers. (As a side note, a few of those short handed goals went into empty nets: two at 4-on-6 and one at 5-on-6; for the purposes of adjusting for situational scoring, SEAL consider 5-on-6 goals to be short handed.)
Teammate charts paint an unflattering picture of Liam Foudy. The one above shows him well under the 50% goal share line, while some of his linemates sit well above it. The goals-for WOWY chart below further confirms this apparent trend: many of Foudy’s teammates performed worse with him, in terms of goal share, than they did with other players. When the results are this consistent, it’s hard to make excuses and time to look for potential explanations instead.
From a cohort point of view, Foudy had a pretty commonplace season, with over 500 statistical matches and an Expected Likelihood of Success of about 13%. Philadelphia Flyers power forward Wayne Simmonds is among his closest comparables, while the likes of Trevor Letowski, Tobias Rieder, and Adam Henrique also showed high degrees of statistical similarity.
Looking over his OHL career, Foudy has shown consistency in his projected value, with a modest increase this season.
Foudy’s meal ticket is his skating ability. Hailed as one of the draft’s best skaters, Liam has speed to burn and the agility, creativity, and puck handling required to make good use of it. He can beat defenders one-on-one on a regular basis, but can also play an effective cycle game.
“A tale of two seasons” is going to be a frequent trope for those discussing Foudy’s 2017-18 campaign, and that’s for good reason: the dichotomy between the first half and the second half is enormous. So, the challenge becomes, who is the real Liam Foudy? Normally, the easy follow-up would be “the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle”, but I think there’s a little more nuance to it than that.
Brock Otten, writing for McKeen’s Hockey, noted the following about Foudy:
One of the main reasons why he was not standing out earlier in the season was that he looked timid while playing through traffic and was not suited to play the checking line role that London brass was asking of him. Now being relied upon to create offense consistently, he has taken off. It is important that we do not forget the struggles he faced trying to play more of a shutdown/energy type of game. With his speed, he should be an absolute force on the forecheck. But that part of his game is inconsistent.
We’ve seen that, when put into an offensive role, Foudy can thrive and reward his team. But forced to play a more aggressive style, he oscillates between fading into the background and being an outright detriment. If Foudy had game-breaking offensive potential, maybe this wouldn’t matter. Nobody cares if your star goal scorer isn’t lighting up defenders on the forecheck (or at least, they shouldn’t). But Foudy is far from a lock to be that guy. It’s more likely that, if he makes it, he’ll be a second line/middle six forward who can contribute offence and play both sides of special teams – but that type of role at the pro level is going to require more intensity and assertiveness than he’s shown to date.
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From The Hockey News Draft Preview:
Foudy was a championship hurdler in high school, and both his parents were accomplished track and field athletes, too. His dad also played in the CFL. Foudy can’t jump over opponents on the ice, but with his speed he can blaze past them. He also played for Canada at the world under-18’s.