When hockey fans in Colorado here the name Foote, they likely think back to the glory years - Adam Foote is a former captain and two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Avalanche. When junior hockey fans hear the name Foote, they think of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft - Callan Foote was drafted 14th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning. But there is one more Foote that has his eyes set on the NHL and Nolan is doing it a little differently than the rest of his family.
Like his father and brother, Nolan is a big, rugged player that uses his size to his advantage. However, unlike the two of them, he doesn’t do it on the blue line; Nolan Foote plays left wing for the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL, and he is among the top prospects eligible for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Foote, who won’t even turn 17 until November, already has one full WHL season under his belt. In 52 games last season, Foote scored 19 goals and added 16 assists. To put that in perspective, his 0.37 G/GP and 0.67 P/GP were nearly identical to Evander Kane's at the same age.
Kane is the comparison that most often comes up when discussing Nolan Foote. Like Kane, he is a big, feisty LW that is a decent skater and has a tremendous shot. That shot is most definitely his best asset. He’s got a quick, strong release that makes his wrister something to fear. It’s such a weapon, that Kelowna used the 16-year old as the trigger man on the second powerplay unit early in the season and promoted him to the half-wall shooter role on the first PP by the end of the year. That’s pretty incredible when you consider he is playing in a league with mostly 17-21-year-olds.
Like almost any kid that sprung up to 6’3 by his 15th birthday, Foote is built like a beanpole. He’s listed at 176 lbs, but that seems generous. Luckily for him, he has two full years to fill out his frame and by the time his NHL draft rolls around, there’s little doubt that he will already be built like an NHL player.
Despite being born in Englewood, and spending his minor hockey years in the Colorado Thunderbirds minor hockey association with Chase Sakic, Nolan is going to spend the next week representing Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He and his brother had the choice to play for the USA internationally but chose Canada thanks to their father’s influence - Adam won an Olympic gold medal for his native country back in 2002.
Foote is expected to play left wing on the top line for Canada’s U18 team. He is one if the youngest players on the team but scouts expect him to play a big role before he looks to take the next step in his Junior career: by being one of the go-to guys in Kelowna this season.
It’s still two seasons away, but the Colorado native is on a path to becoming one of the top picks in the NHL Draft. His father and brother were drafted 22nd and 14th respectively, but Nolan will almost certainly end up as the highest drafted player in the family.
They may choose to represent Canada on the international stage, but Callan and Nolan Foote are products of Colorado minor hockey. They grew up and learned the game while hanging around the Avalanche organization. In a time when many Avs fans like to look back at the ‘good ol’ times’ for the franchise, it’s great that the Foote brothers give us the ability to look to the future and they’re proving that there is a legacy coming out of those glory years.
With their team expected to be near the bottom of the standings again this season, many Avs fans are keeping an eye towards next summer’s draft. Nolan Foote gives them a reason to look an extra year down the line too.