Foligno finally admits that his health was not good before coming to Toronto in 2021 deadline deal

Mike Armenti
February 1, 2023  (1:36 PM)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have certainly had mixed results when it comes to trades over the past number of seasons with Kyle Dubas at the helm. Many in Leafs Nation are still trying to recover from the heartbreak of losing Nazem Kadri in the Barrie/Kerfoot deal with Colorado. The Jake Muzzin trade, even though his future is currently pretty murky, he gave the Leafs several good years. But the Nick Foligno deal is one that Leafs Nation views as perhaps the worst deal in the Dubas era.

To take you back, Dubas and company had an opportunity to bring in one of several potential game-changers that year, including Taylor Hall, but ultimately chose to pursue a deal for a gritty, playoff-style player who could really move the needle for the Buds when the games got tougher.
Well, the end result was a total of 11 games as a Leaf - 7 in the regular season and 4 in the playoffs, and the 4 playoff games, Foligno played at well below 100% health-wise. For that, Dubas paid a premium - a 1st round pick and a pair of 4th round picks in exchange for a banged-up Foligno at just 25% of his original cap hit. Unfortunately, he was 25% of his former self from the playoff bubble the year prior as well.
After the Leafs were eliminated in 7 games, blowing a 3-1 series lead to the 16th-seed Canadiens in round 1, instead of signing a 1-year deal with the Leafs to return for one more kick at the can, Foligno signed a multi-year deal in Boston, but according to the veteran forward, the Leafs' organization was all class, helping him to improve his health enough to the point of being able to play any games at all for the Leafs - a pretty damning revelation, since he was previously adamant that he had come to Toronto fully healthy and that his injury occurred during his limited run as a Leaf. He also credits the team's medical staff for helping him after his contract had expired.
The trade came at a time when COVID-19 was imposing all sorts of limitations on teams and may have prevented the Leafs from being able to perform a proper medical check on Foligno prior to completing the trade. They were relying solely on the information that Jarmo Kekalainen had provided them with. It would be nice to be able to take another GM at his word, but it would appear as though Dubas has learned his lesson as he hasn't paid a premium for a player at the deadline since. Even this summer, Dubas had the Leafs' medical staff closely examine Matt Murray to ensure that he was 100% recovered from his concussion issues before pulling the trigger on a deal for the 28-year-old netminder.
Still, it's a bit frustrating to know that Foligno and Kekalainen basically lied to the Leafs and got away with it entirely unchecked.
Foligno finally admits that his health was not good before coming to Toronto in 2021 deadline deal

Should the league punish Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen for pulling a fast one on the Leafs and sending them an injured player in 2021 while claiming he was healthy?

Definitely23776 %
Not necessarily144.5 %
Don't care, we've moved on6119.6 %
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