Nick Foligno hopes to make Leafs debut Thursday vs. Jets

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets
FILE PHOTO: Apr 6, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ben Thomas (56) chase down a loose puck during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

April 19, 2021

Former Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno is eyeing Thursday as his potential debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he said on an NHL.com podcast.

The Maple Leafs acquired the left wing on April 11 in a three-team trade with Columbus and the San Jose Sharks, with each team retaining a portion of Foligno’s salary so he can join the North Division leaders for their Stanley Cup pursuit. Toronto visits the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

Because he moved from the U.S. to Canada, Foligno was required to quarantine for seven days before joining his new team for practices and games, in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.

“Seven days of just nothing, and then you jump right into it, it would be nice to probably have a practice, but I rather just that — let’s go,” Foligno said on “The Chirp with Darren Millard.” “I’m here to play for them and get this thing rolling, so I probably prefer just to jump right into it and get going.”

If the Leafs put Foligno in their lineup Thursday at Winnipeg, he’ll get to play against his former Columbus teammate, Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Foligno played eight-plus seasons for the Blue Jackets and his first five NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators. In 950 career games, he has tallied 203 goals and 279 assists.

The Maple Leafs sent their 2021 first-round pick and 2022 fourth-rounder to Columbus and their 2021 fourth-rounder to San Jose in order to add Foligno to their stacked group of forwards, which includes NHL goal-scoring leader Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Mitch Marner.

Foligno’s father, Mike Foligno, was an NHL veteran who played parts of four seasons for the Leafs

(Field Level Media)