By Torie Peterson
Spencer Foo finished his first professional season on a high note.
Scoring his first goal on home ice on April 7 in a 7-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, with his parents in the crowd earning plenty of Hockey Night In Canada cameos with their exuberant celebrations, Foo looked right at home in just his fourth NHL game.
Recalled late in the year, the 24-year-old put up two goals in his four appearances with the Flames. Admittedly a small sample size, his possession numbers from that brief cup of coffee in Calgary should carry optimism into next season thanks to his 55.77 even-strength Corsi-For percentage.
The coaching staff didn’t hold Foo back when it came to minutes, either. The forward ranked sixth among all Flames forwards in average ice time per game at 15:51.
All in all, a pretty decent way to end his first year with the organization.
“It was great to have that experience and I’ll keep that in my back pocket, going into the summer,” Foo said.
But, the 2017-18 season didn’t start with the same sort of fireworks that it ended with.
Shuttled to Stockton in late September, Foo – who signed with the Flames as an unrestricted free agent after spending four years at Union College – would be held pointless in his first four games.
He netted his first professional goal and assist on Oct. 20 but ended up only putting up three assists in the 12 games that followed and endured a seven-game point drought during that stretch.
The adjustment from playing in the collegiate ranks to the AHL took time, as it does for many players, but Foo remained steadfastly dedicated to his craft, not allowing scoring slumps to affect his work ethic.
As the calendar flipped to 2018, the offence started to come.
Foo put up 26 of his 39 points with the Heat from January onwards – 67% of his offensive output. By the end of the year, he was third in team scoring and led Stockton with 161 shots on net.
“Spencer got off to a little bit of a slower start,” Ryan Huska said. “We lost some key guys that were generating offence for us – well, it put a little bit more pressure on him and he found a way to be a 20-goal scorer, with the bulk of his goals coming after Christmas.”
Foo has an impressive skill set, owning a great shot, solid vision, strong playmaking skills, and a willingness to play in the hard areas of the ice.
But one could argue his best attribute is his skating. Foo is agile on his blades, has a fluid stride, possesses an explosive first few steps and when he hits top speed, his opponents are hard-pressed to keep up.
With the way the NHL has trended in recent years, Foo’s speed will be a major asset for the Flames and will be key in his bid to solidify a roster spot in Calgary.
“I’m going to keep grinding away. Obviously this is the biggest summer of my life,” Foo stated.
“Hopefully I’ll be ready to compete for that spot in camp.”