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2015 NHL Draft Prospect: Erik Foley

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Erik Foley

Position: Left Wing
Shoots: Left
2014-15 Team: Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)
College Commitment: Providence College
Hometown: Mansfield, Mass.
Height/Weight: 5'11.5"/185
Date of Birth: 6/30/97
Final Central Scouting Ranking: 51

Erik Foley's meteoric rise from a decent prep player to an elite prospect with high NHL aspirations surprised everyone, including Mark Carlson, his junior coach in Cedar Rapids.

"If you had told me two years ago that he'd score 27 goals and 27 assists in the USHL, I wouldn't have believed it," said Carlson, who earned his 500th USHL win this season.

Foley came to Cedar Rapids following his prep season at Tabor Academy in 2013-14 and finished out the season with the RoughRiders. In just a little over a 12-month span, the improvement Carlson has seen is remarkable.

"To see where he is now compared to where he was 12 months ago, it's hard to believe anyone else in this draft class has improved as much as he has in that time," commented Carlson.

For all of Foley's physical tools and attributes, what might be most impressive his engine and work ethic. The Mansfield, Mass. native is always on the move and is a tireless forechecker.

"He just shows up to play everyday. I never had to get on him to play harder," said Carlson. "He competes his tail off every day. His drive and passion comes through a lot."

"I'm definitely a guy who has to work down low. I'm not really a skilled guy. I work below the goal line. That's where my bread and butter is. I like grinding down low and getting pucks out in front," said Foley.

Foley's drive helps him win puck battles and keep possession of the puck around the net front and along the boards in the offensive zone.

"He's so good at puck protection. He plays well down low, goes to the net. He's relentless with and without the puck," said Carlson.

His speed will surprise some observers, but his ability to turn on the jets and close in on pucks is something that really stands out when watching him.

"His speed and skill are just so good. He scored a lot of big goals and big assists for us," Carlson said.

"I think my speed and my strength is one of my big assets of my game," added Foley.

Foley will bring his talents to Providence College in the fall where he will play for head coach Nate Leaman and the defending NCAA Champion Friars.

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Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.