Marcus Foligno, newly re-signed with the Wild, is back to full health and looking forward to his turn.

Marcus Foligno felt like a zombie when he left the ice last season.

The hernia surgery he underwent in mid-May corrected a problem that appeared before Christmas, one that hampered Foligno’s skating and slowed his explosiveness in games. The pain prevented him from training, and Foligno focused solely on getting his body ready to play.

Now on the mend, the winger aims to get back to the form he was in before his health condition deteriorated.

It was the first time he scored 20 goals and had the best shooting percentage in the NHL.

But regardless of how next season goes, Foligno will get a raise at the end of the season.

The four-year, $16 million contract extension he signed Friday is not an upfront payment on potential, but an acknowledgment of who he already is.

“One thing we were clear about with Marcus was that just because we got an extension, we weren’t going to change anything just because it was going to cost us more money,” President of Hockey Operations Bill said. Guerin said. “You signed a contract. Just be who you are and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to live up to it, because then you’re just going to play with stress and anxiety.”

“Be yourself.”

As it stands, Foligno is well-paid for the Wild as a secondary scorer, defensive specialist, physical agitator, all-around tone-setter, and acting captain.

If the Wild didn’t have the 32-year-old, they would be looking for a player like him right away, and they don’t have a player like him on a dime.

“I like a team with Marcus Foligno much better than a team without him,” Guerin said.

Foligno, who was sitting idle Saturday as the Wild continued their preseason preparations with a 3-2 overtime win over Chicago at Xcel Energy Center, said the decision to stay and bypass free agency was a given. I was feeling it.

“There’s just unfinished business here and I didn’t want to walk away from it,” said Foligno, who is finalizing his second three-year, $9.3 million contract with the Wild since being traded from Buffalo. Ta. 2017. “We have a great team and the future is bright.”

Even if his job description remains the same, that doesn’t mean Foligno can’t evolve.

Over the summer, he worked on his quickness and his first three steps from the forecheck in the corner to the front of the net. He wants to force turnovers into scoring opportunities and take more shots. Finishing his scoring career in the teens is realistic in his mind – right between the seven goals he scored in 65 games last season and the career-high 23 he scored in 2021-22.

What Foligno doesn’t want is for the goal to go against him.

For him, his creativity comes in the form of anticipating plays and preventing dangerous shots.

And in terms of leadership, what’s different without Matt Dumba, who was one of the team’s former spark plugs until parting ways with the Wild over the summer, is to make sure the team is “revitalized.” . But Foligno wants everyone to speak out, not just him and captain Jared Spurgeon.

Still, Foligno is involved in so many facets of the Wild that he will likely be on the front lines, as he was during the playoffs against Dallas last April.

In Game 3, he scored an emotional goal in a landslide victory, but in the next game, two questionable penalties resulted in the ejection whistle, and the Stars scored on each power play, helping them advance to Game 4. did.

“The penalty is unfortunate because I think we were too aggressive,” Foligno said. “But those calls are what they are. It’s pretty vague if you ask me.”

Then, just two minutes into Game 5, Foligno was ejected for kicking Dallas’ Radek Faksa with a knee. The Wild failed to reset and lost 4-0, losing in Game 6 and being eliminated from the playoffs for the eighth straight year.

“Can I have you fight back? Of course,” Foligno said. “I don’t think it was a hit because we were going to do whatever the outcome was.”

He had that series stewing and eating away at him for about a month into the offseason.

“You’re watching them play, you’re watching them go all the way to the conference finals,” Foligno said. “You just say, ‘That could have been us. That could have been us.'”

“A lot of things could have gone differently just thinking about what could have gone differently.”

As it turned out, enough was enough.

“This year it’s time to use that as fuel and be more aggressive,” Foligno said. “I’m excited to make sure something like this never happens again.”

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