2020 NHL Entry Draft Profile: Jean-Luc Foudy

An excellent skater who may be a divisive prospect between the first two rounds.

Over the course of the 2019-20 season, I will be taking a look at a variety of prospects eligible to be drafted this June at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. There is no particular ranking to these breakdowns; these prospects come from a variety of tiers. They’re meant to keep you updated on a multitude of potential selections this summer and will complement my forthcoming and extensive coverage of the entry draft.

Below are the first three prospects detailed in this series:

2020 NHL Entry Draft Profile: Kasper Puutio
2020 NHL Entry Draft Profile: Martin Chromiak
2020 NHL Entry Draft Profile: Thomas Bordeleau

This time around it’s Egor Afanasyev’s teammate, Jean-Luc Foudy.

Jean-Luc Foudy - C

Windsor Spitfires [OHL] - 17 - Scarborough, Ontario

The young brother of Columbus’s 2018 first-round pick Liam Foudy, Jean-Luc Foudy was taken tenth overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Draft by the Windsor Spitfires after a 60-point season for the Toronto Titans in Midget AAA hockey.

He scored just eight goals in his rookie season for Windsor but his 49 points were good for third on the Spitfires’ roster. Presently, Foudy’s 36 points are good for just sixth for the Windsor club and ties him for 14th among U18 skaters in the entire OHL. His 0.609 primary points per game is 19th among first-year draft-eligible forwards in the OHL this season.

Foudy’s Scouting Report

An incredibly strong skater with a quick and fluid strideDoesn't always attack the inside of the zone when carrying the puck
NHL-level control of his edges and an impressive crossover abilityOveruse of crossovers on the perimeter can lead to bad turnovers
Possesses an accurate, fast shot and hands that provide good maneuverabilityCould improve his puck support positioning and defensive awareness

When you watch Jean-Luc Foudy play, the first thing anyone should (and will) mention is his skating. He’s one of the best young skaters in the OHL, if not the best, with a combination of complete strides, a rapid crossover step, and good edge control.

It’s undeniable how he forces defenders to expand their gap when he’s entering the zone. If your team is preparing for a breakout, there’s a decent chance it’ll start with Foudy and a better chance the puck will be at the other end of the ice, with possession, shortly thereafter.

His skating stride is almost mesmerizing and even when he doesn’t look like he’s hitting that top gear, he can transition into it seamlessly; take a look at the clip above as an example. He moves his way through the neutral zone and doesn’t look to have a step on the defense. As he enters the zone, the Flint defender maintains good positioning, and it looks like he will be able to keep Foudy to the perimeter. But, one smooth move later and with just two or three quick steps, Foudy has gained positioning and separation before beautifully setting up a high-danger chance.

Foudy is a possession monster but maintains good awareness—most of the time—when entering the zone on the rush. In the clip above, he threads an excellent pass to the slot after his path deep into the zone is defended well.

He’s got the puck on his stick so much that sometimes he does the hard work for his opposition. I wouldn’t exclusively label Foudy as a perimeter player, but that’s where he operates best with his quick hands and elusive skating. Sometimes that leads to him abandoning rushes too soon or letting defenders off easy, like in the clip above.

But, after a turnover at his own blue line, you can catch Foudy’s acceleration and hands on full display, too.

Two negatives to Foudy’s game that are apparent are his questionable puck support positioning and his over-reliance on his feet and hands. He won’t win every possession battle and he’s prone, as seen above, to careless errors and turnovers as he tries to dangle his way out of coverage.

I’d never characterize his play off the puck as lazy, but I think he can be caught floating too much. In this play, Foudy tries to use his footwork to out-maneuver the Owen Sound defender but turns over the puck when he struggles to gain positioning. On defense, it almost feels like he’s dipping a toe in the water at times—hesitant to commit to anything. Conversely, sometimes he’ll strip an opponent with a quick stick-check and be on his way with the puck.

The offensive talent Foudy possesses is attractive; his skating ability can be jaw-dropping. I’m curious how many clubs view him as too removed from the play, though. In the offensive zone, he can force the puck into non-existent plays too much (see: turnovers), and he sometimes looks to be waiting for the play to shift to him instead of attacking it.

Regardless, Windsor’s #93 will be a hotly-debated prospect between now and June.

Expected Pick Range

Colin Cudmore (@CudmoreColin) over at silversevensens.com has done remarkable work compiling draft rankings and establishing an ‘Expected Pick Range’ from a variety of different sources. You can read about his methodology here, track the compiled rankings here, and use his data viz (embedded below) here.

My rankings were incorporated into this list for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and I will be using Cudmore’s work again in place of my currently non-existent 2020 NHL Entry Draft rankings.

Foudy’s Expected Pick Range: #22 to #45 — 1st or 2nd Round

Foudy is a tough prospect to project, as detailed above. You’ll notice the confidence in a potential first-round pick for him has steadily declined over the course of the season. I think concerns about how he engages in puck battles could be valid and he could certainly drop deep into round two. But the offensive skill seems too tempting, and I could see an organization making a play for him late in round one.

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com.