( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images )

By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn

It has been a roller coaster season already for Nick Foligno. After 15 years in the NHL, Foligno has been a captain and a 30-goal scorer and has played over 1,000 games. However, his spot on the NHL roster this season was far from guaranteed, as he was placed on waivers to clear up cap space.

On top of that drama, Foligno also has been turned on a bit by the fans. It is no secret that he struggled last season. His 13 points were his lowest total since his rookie season with Ottawa in 2008. Over the summer, fans wanted Foligno to be bought out, traded, or released to dispose of what has turned out to be a bad contract. They even went so far as to shower Foligno with boos when he was announced for the home opener on Saturday night.

So far this season, though, Nick Foligno has been exactly what the Bruins have needed him to be. He has been solid on the fourth line, playing with speed and energy, and providing a physical presence that has injected new life into the Bruins lineup.

Saturday night, after being booed by the home crowd, Foligno scored his first goal of the 2022/2023 season, already half his total from last season. That goal was his 500th career point. It was a perfect fourth-line goal for Foligno. After battling for the puck in the corner, Foligno made his way to the front of the net and tipped in a shot from Connor Clifton.

It has been quite a career for Foligno so far. After being drafted 28th overall in the 2006 entry draft, Foligno played five years with the Senators before being shipped to Columbus, Ohio, to suit up for the Blue Jackets. Three seasons later, he was named captain of the Blue Jackets and would serve in that post for five and a half years before he was traded to the Maple Leafs at the 2021 trade deadline.

Following that season, he was signed by our beloved Boston Bruins in hopes that he would provide veteran leadership that could help the Bruins make deeper playoff runs. So far, it has proved unsuccessful, but this season could be different. Foligno and the Bruins have looked motivated to prove the doubters wrong and make a statement in the first few games of the season. They have played with conviction and looked threatening offensively. They scored at least five goals in their first three games, the first time achieving that since 1970.

Foligno does not need to score 20 goals this year to make it a successful signing. Some of his best attributes are off-the-ice qualities that will not be measured by his Hockey Reference page or noticed by the casual fan. That is what the Bruins considered when signing him before last season. If Nick Foligno scores 15 points and plays a solid 200-foot game for most of the season, that should be recorded as a success.

At one point in his career, he was being paid to score. Now, though, his responsibility is to help the team win in any way he can. Sometimes that will still mean scoring, but more often than not, it will be by sticking up for his teammates or laying his body on the line. Hopefully, at the end of this season, Foligno remembers it not only as the season he scored his 500th point but also as the season he first raised the Stanley Cup high over his head.