CALGARY — Competition isn’t discouraging Spencer Foo.
The forward prospect is hoping to move up the crowded Calgary Flames depth chart as a second-year pro.
“For sure it makes it more of a challenge, but at the end of the day it’s the National Hockey League and there’s players coming in and out at all times,” said Foo, who had 39 points (20 goals, 19 assists) in 62 games as a rookie with Stockton of the American Hockey League last season.
“My goal was never to come in and be a bubble player, be a 13th forward. I want to come in and make an impact. So at the end of the day, whatever (other) players are here, it doesn’t matter. I want to solidify my own spot.”
There is no lack of determination in Foo, who signed with the Flames on July 1, 2017 as a highly touted NCAA free agent from Union College.
There’s no shortage of competition he’ll face, either.
Looking to add depth after finishing 37-35-10, fifth in the Pacific Division, and missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs by 11 points, the Flames signed free agent forwards Derek Ryan and Austin Czarnik on July 1 and forward James Neal on July 2.
General manager Brad Treliving hopes the moves spark competition out of his prospects, including Foo and fellow forward Dillon Dube.
“If you’ve got a good team, it should be hard to make the team, and I think our team is getting there,” Treliving said. “I don’t think these guys are rubbing their eyes and kicking stones. They’re motivated to come in and play. So if nothing else, it’s been fuel to a few of these guys.”
Foo’s late-season NHL debut, a four-game stint that featured Foo’s first two NHL goals in April will add some fire too.
“To get that experience and feel comfortable out there and know that I can go out and make an impact, I think that gives me a lot of confidence going into this year,” Foo, 24, said. “This year I know exactly what to expect. I want to come in and push for a spot even harder than I did last year. I know what it takes now and I want to be on that team.”
Treliving expects Foo to be in the mix come September.
“If you ask Spencer, he’s singular focused on making the team here,” Treliving said. “That’s what we talked about. Do you want to be a five-game guy? He’s trying to be an 82-game guy. He’s put in the work. I don’t think there’s going to be any other focus for Spencer Foo. He’s a very determined young man, to play here.
“That’s good. That’s good for him, and good for us.”