Nolan Foote
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New Jersey Devils acquired a top prospect in Nolan Foote on Sunday, and here’s what fans should know about the future NHL star.

Kyle McKenna

New Jersey Devils fans are probably still sour over the fact that former NHL defenseman Adam Foote won two Stanley Cup championships.

The legendary defenseman’s second title was earned against the Devils back in 2000-01 after the Colorado Avalanche erased a 3-2 series deficit to prevent New Jersey from winning back-to-back Cups. It just so happens that almost two decades later, Foote’s son, Nolan, is now a member of the Devils organization.

Most have heard by now that Foote was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade that shipped Blake Coleman to the Sunshine State.

Let’s take a closer look at the top prospect and get to know Nolan Foote.

While Foote’s father was a gritty and dynamic blueliner in the NHL, the Devils’ newest youngster is a winger. The Denver, CO native was drafted 27th overall back in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by Tampa and has spent the past four seasons skating out of the Western Hockey League (Junior Hockey) with the Kelowna Rockets. It’s no surprise that Foote was named captain of the Rockets this past season, considering his father was usually an alternate captain throughout his career in addition to the captain of the Avalanche from 2009 until 2011.

The 19-year-old also received his father’s height while standing tall at 6-foot-4.

The Devils’ future power forward entails experience and exposures on the big stage too. Foote earned a gold medal at the 2020 World Junior Championship while collecting five points (3 goals, 2 assists) with Team Canada.

This hockey enthusiast can’t stress enough how important it is for prospects to participate and experience World Junior. Those types of pressures and big moments on a National setting challenge prospects and provide them with a taste of what skating in the NHL entails. If those prospects can rise to the occasion and shine, while displaying their character qualities on the ice then it usually bodes well for them and the club that selects that skater in the draft.

Foote has been a point-producing machine in the WHL. The left-handed shot has recorded 33 points in 26 games played this season (15 goals, 18 assists) and is fresh off a 63-point campaign last year (36 goals, 27 assists).

The Devils’ prospect pool has entailed more and more depth over the past calendar year with their top youngsters receiving valuable experience at the highest Junior Hockey levels. New Jersey’s prospect pool arguably has never entailed this much depth and potential.

There was a time during the mid-1990s when the Devils farm system included the likes of skaters such as Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora, John Madden and Colin White, but Devils fans should be more excited for what’s to come and with Foote. Keep in mind that all of those skaters won at least one Stanley Cup in a Devils’ sweater.

“Size” is something that coaches at any level can’t teach, right? That characteristic is still a crucial difference-maker in the NHL, regardless if some teams find success without size such as Pittsburgh that won back-to-back Cups with a smaller team.

Foote is a large forward with offensive threat capabilities. If a skater of his stature entails size, speed and talent, well, that skater has the scalability to develop a dynamic performance level.

Just look at the Tkachuk brother for example – it’s ironic that their dad played in the NHL during the same era as Foote’s, but expect the youngster to pan out like the brothers skating North of the Border.

His style of play and talent level can be utilized on special teams and in the big moments, while fans may even see his big-body in front of the opposition’s net on the power play from time to time.

The Devils have lacked diversity on both sides of the puck for far too long, but that’s all about to change since the team started acquiring legitimate top-tier prospects and not a player like Mattias Tedenby.

Things are finally looking up in New Jersey for the red and black.

Kyle McKenna is a freelancer who covers the NHL for Elite Sports New York, Hooked On Hockey Magazine & Fansided. Follow him on Twitter @KMcKenna_tLT5 and use the hashtag #McKennasDigest to have your NHL questions featured in an article or answered over his weekly NHL podcast.