Spencer Abbot enjoying new life as a pro

By DJ Powers
Photo: Spencer Abbot signed an entry-level deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs following an illustrious senior season with Maine. (Photo courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

Spencer Abbott just concluded an excellent senior season where he led the nation in scoring with 62 points (21 goals, 42 assists) in 39 games at the University of Maine. In addition to being named a "Hobey Hat Trick" finalist, he was also named the Hockey East Player of the Year and was recently selected to the All-America East First team.

Hockey's Future spoke with Spencer Abbott following the Hobey Baker Award ceremony in Tampa, Florida last Friday.

Hockey's Future: Even though you didn't win the Hobey Baker Award, how does it feel to have been selected to the "Hat Trick"?

Spencer Abbot: It's obviously a very special feeling. Just being in the top three is a very a good feeling and a great accomplishment. It's something that no one can ever take away from me. That's important to me and it was an honor to be in the top three here.

HF: You played on such a prolific line with Brian (Flynn) and Joey (Diamond). Can you talk about the chemistry that the three of you had and just what made it all work so well this season?

SA: I think we each bring a little something different to the table. I think we kind of fed off of each other. Joey and Brian are great players and great guys off the ice. Joey battles hard for every puck and can kind of get under the skin of (opposing) players. Brian wins almost every draw that he takes and is just a versatile player in that can shoot, pass as well as score goals, and I think I'm kind of in that same category.

HF: Can you talk about being one of the leaders on the team as well as some of the things, in addition to the scoring, that you've been able to do that got the team to the NCAA Tournament this season?

SA: We would've liked to have gotten further than we did, but it was very, very hard for our team this year. I think everyone just stuck to the game plan this year. It was tough for me as a leader at the end of the season after it had all come together earlier in the year.

HF: What were some of the things that you felt that you had improved or done differently that enabled you to have the success that you did this year?

SA: I think just having a real serious off-season workout. I was able to put on a few pounds there and get a little bit stronger in my lower body. I think that was the biggest thing for me. I was also shooting the puck more this year too. So I think I had more goals this year than I had in last three years. I have to also say that playing with the linemates that I had helped too.

HF: You had recently signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. So what was it like getting that call and joining the organization?

SA: It was obviously very special. I grew up watching the Leafs as a kid being near Toronto, so I was obviously a huge fan. So to be a part of the organization after having grown up as a far is extremely special. I've been having a great time with the Marlies. They're a great organization and all of the people that are in the organization are wonderful people. I look forward to getting back there and joining up with the Marlies again.

HF: So I have to ask, how has the Toronto media treating you?

SA: They haven't too bad. It was chaotic for the first few days when I signed the contract, but it's kind of settled down now. You always want to be on the good side of the media. (Laughs)

HF: Can you talk a little bit about how the adjustment was for you going from the college game to the pro game?

SA: You know it wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be. It (the game) wasn't actually faster, to me anyway. I don't think it's that much faster than the college game, but the guys are bigger and stronger than what you'd see in college. So playing against them I think was the biggest adjustment for me to make. I think if you have good hockey sense and poise, then you're able to make plays out there that you might not be able to make in the first couple of games. I don't have a lot of games under my belt, so I think I need to be able to get more comfortable there and then I'll be good.