Kelowna Rockets forward Nolan Foote has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning selected Foote 27th overall at the 2019 National Hockey League Draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C. this past weekend, one of seven Western Hockey League players taken in the first round.
“I love the choice I made going the WHL route,” Foote said after being selected by the Lightning. “It’s a tough league, it’s very hard to play in.
“Kelowna has been very good for me.”
Foote’s third season in the WHL was his most successful to date as the 6-foot-3, 188-pound forward recorded 63 points (36G-27A) in 66 games. He was ranked 37th by NHL Central Scouting ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft. However, revealing a wrist injury that he played with throughout the season, Foote’s stock rose on draft day to convince the Lightning to select the Kelowna, B.C. skater.
His 36 goals led the Rockets this season while his 63 points were tied for second in team scoring. Foote had 17 power-play goals, three short-handed goals, and four game-winning goals. He was looking forward to one day being an integral part of the Lightning’s core.
“[Steven] Stamkos, [Nikita] Kucherov, playing alongside Cal one day will be really cool,” Foote said Friday. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Overall, the 18-year-old Foote has appeared in 168 WHL regular season games with the Rockets, posting 138 points (68G-70A), including 32 power-play goals, three short-handed goals, and seven game-winning goals. He’s also added 10 points (3G-7A) in 22 WHL playoff games, including a pair of power-play goals. Foote was originally selected by Kelowna in the second round, 42nd overall, of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
The Lightning’s selection also reunited the Foote family as Nolan joined his older brother Cal, a defenceman, in the team’s pool of promising prospects. The older Foote was selected 14th overall by the Lightning in the 2017 NHL Draft and previously served as captain of the Rockets, playing with Nolan between 2016 and 2018.
“We’ve mentioned it, playing junior together,” Nolan said of the two ending up with the same NHL team. “We thought it’d be cool, but now it’s real and I can’t wait to celebrate with him.”
The Rockets, who are the hosts of the 2020 Memorial Cup presented by Kia, will being the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season at home against the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday, September 21 (7:05 p.m. PT) at Prospera Place.