Prospect Of Interest: The 411 on Liam Foudy

Liam Foudy of the London Knights saw a huge offensive improvement in his second OHL season. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

If Liam Foudy wasn’t on your radar a year ago, he certainly should be now.

Back in January, Foudy was ranked 91st among North American skaters on the NHL Central Scouting mid-term rankings. When the final rankings were released three months later, Foudy had leapfrogged 72 of his peers to flip that ranking to No. 19, making him one of the fastest risers in his class.

The speedy forward has progressed by leaps and bounds over the second half of 2017-18, which is more than fitting for a kid who made a name for himself on the track as a high school hurdles champ.

Early-season struggles meant Foudy saw limited playing time during the first half of the 2017-18 campaign on a London Knights squad that was heavy on veterans, but he took full advantage of the opportunity given to him after a series of roster-clearing deadline trades saw him suddenly rise in the lineup.

“I just did a lot of extra work after practice, doing that knowing that when I got my chance I’d be ready, putting extra things in,” Foudy told NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman. “That leads to when you get your chance, be ready. I tried to think positive during that time, even though I wasn’t getting a lot of time. I tried to take the positives out of certain situations, and that helped me when I got my chance.”

He gained confidence, earned the trust of head coach Dale Hunter, and is now giving teams drafting late in the first round plenty to think about.

Here’s what you need to know about Foudy’s incredible rise in the rankings.

Team: London Knights
Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Age: 18
From: Toronto, Ont.
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 183 pounds

HE’S FAST. LIKE, REALLY FAST

The first thing you’ll notice about Foudy is that this kid can fly. The elite skater, who models his game after Detroit Red Wings forward (and London Knights alumnus) Andreas Athanasiou, can be used as a centreman — that’s what he’s officially listed as — or a winger.

His skillset has shown him to be more of a scorer than a playmaker at this point. Foudy’s strong scoring instincts were on full display in the second half of 2017-18, which included a 13-game scoring spree featuring 14 goals and eight assists (Feb. 9 to March 7). After registering just four goals and three assists in his first 35 games of the season, he had 20 goals and 13 helpers for 33 points in his final 30 to finish his sophomore campaign with 40 points. (To compare, he scored nine goals and added six assists in 58 games as a rookie in London.)

His performance on Team Canada’s entry at the Under-18s was the cherry on top of what was an excellent second-half of the season. Foudy registered two goals and two assists in five games for Team Canada.

HE’S GOT QUITE THE TRACK RECORD(S)

Athleticism definitely runs in the Foudy family. Both parents are former athletes — mom France Gareau won Olympic silver while representing Canada in the 4×100-metre relay at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and dad Sean Foudy spent six seasons as a CFL defensive back and won the Grey Cup with the B.C. Lions on 1994 — and younger brother Jean-Luc is set to make his OHL debut this fall with the Windsor Spitfires.

As a kid, Foudy took after his mother, excelling on the track as a hurdler before shifting his focus to hockey full-time upon being drafted to the OHL by the London Knights in 2016.

That success on the track — he stills holds a few records from his high school days, and twice landed on the podium at nationals — has clearly helped him on the ice as he continues to apply his track training to his workout regimen.

“They definitely correlate with the fast-twitch muscles,” Foudy said, via NHL.com. “The fast-twitch muscle is going to help you no matter what; it’s almost the same stride. That helps me a lot. That’s why when I started skating, I was naturally fast.”

HE EXCELLED (AND ACCELERATED) AT THE COMBINE

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek, who projects that Foudy could land with the St. Louis Blues with the 29th overall pick this Friday, called Foudy “Maybe the best ‘athlete’ in the draft”, adding that he is “now starting to show people how dynamic a player he is.”

That was on full display during the NHL Draft Combine, appearing at the top of the results page of several events — most notably, those that require quick reactions and bursts of speed.

Placing first by an impressive margin in the vertical jump, no arm jump, and standing long jump and ranking second in the squat jump. His quick bursts of speed were evident in the agility tests, ranking first and second in the pro agility left and right, respectively. He also scored atop his peers in the ‘peak power outage’ during the dreaded Wingate cycle ergometer test and fourth in bench press.

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