Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My InterFoo with Flames winger Spencer Foo

         On July 1st, a lot of NHL players sign with new teams. Most of the signings are widely recognized. But, one signing that was overshadowed by the other ones was the Calgary Flames signing winger Spencer Foo. Foo went undrafted and played at Union College, where he scored 26 goals and 36 assists for an impressive 62 points in 2016-17, which was good enough for fourth in the nation. In three years at Union, Foo scored 49 goals and 63 assists for 112 points in 113 games. At 23 years of age, the Edmonton, Canada native hopes to crack the Flames potent top-six.

        Recently, I was able to talk to Foo. Here are the questions I asked him.

          Carter LaCorte (me): "Was it cool to find out that multiple NHL teams were looking to sign you?"

          Spencer Foo: "Yes, definitely. It was awesome having all that interest, especially not getting drafted, and trying to work my way up the ranks. It was pretty cool to have that interest."

          CL: "What about the Flames made you want to sign in Calgary?"

          SF: "A couple of little things, like being close to home (Edmonton and Calgary are both in Alberta), and being in Canada, having a lot of good people in the organization. Another big thing was opportunity and the ability that the Flames are going to be able to win with the team they have right now. It's really solid and I think they are going to be a winning team in the next couple of years, and that was a big reason for it."

           CL: "What do you think you bring to the table when you play?"

           SF: "I think I bring a high speed level, and a solid skill-set offensively and I think I'm a better player defensively as well, and I think I'll be able to help the team."

            CL: "What current NHL player do you model your game after?"

           SF: "That's a tough one. I guess the guy I look at now is Jake Guentzal coming out of Pittsburgh. He came out of college and was able to make an impact right away. He's a fast offensive player, and is able to chip in with a few goals here-and-there. I'd say just the way our careers have gone, I kind of look up to him."

             CL: "If there is any player you are most excited to play with in Calgary, who is it?"

             SF: "It's a pretty easy one. I'd love to get the opportunity to play with Johnny Gaudreau. He's a college guy like me, and obviously has an incredible offensive skill-set. I think It would be pretty awesome to play with him."

             CL: "Why do you think Union is producing a lot of NHL players recently (Shayne Gostisbehere, Mike Vecchione, Dan Carr)?"

             SF: "First of all, it's the recruiting, and once you get there, they have a winning mindset and have that culture where they want their players to work hard and win games.  They also they want their players to play the right way and I think they are good at developing two-way players that are able to make the jump."

              CL: "How proud are you of your brother Parker on being drafted by the Blackhawks (in the 5th round in 2017)?"

              SF: "I'm really proud of him. We've grown up together and always have had a little rivalry, trying to push each other to make each other better, and over the last few years he's worked really hard to get to that point, and I can't say enough good things about him."

              CL: "Last question, after being undrafted, how much did that motivate you to make the NHL?"

               SF: "A lot. It's tough when you have to go the long way, and fight for your spot, but for me I've always had the dream of getting to this point. I've put in the work to try and get here. It's finally starting to pay off, and having that chip on your shoulder throughout the way, I think that's helped a lot."

Monday, August 21, 2017

NHL news: Ducks sign Beauchemin to one year deal

              Defenseman Francois Beauchemin and the Anaheim Ducks have agreed to a one year, one million dollar deal, with a $500K performance bonus.

              After losing Clayton Stoner and Shea Theodore in the expansion draft, the Ducks could use a 7th defenseman to use if Brandon Montour, Kevin Bieksa, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm or Josh Manson go down with an injury, or at least a better one than Steve Oleksy and Korbinian Holzer. Also, Lindholm and Vatanen could start the season on the IR because they are still recovering from surgery in the offseason. Plus, Holzer and Oleksy could start the year in the AHL if they don't impress in training camp. Beauchemin is a very good defensive defenseman. Also, he's an experienced veteran, playing in 97 career playoff games. This is actually going to be his third different stint with the Ducks, including a 2007 Stanley Cup win, so he knows the system well.

               Beauchemin, 37, scored five goals and 13 assists for 18 points in 81 games for the Colorado Avalanche in 2016-17. The ex-defensive defenseman of the year (2013) has a career +/- of +2. In his 13 year NHL career for the Avalanche, Ducks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens, Beauchemin has scored 271 points (73 goals and 198 assists) in 836 games.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

MLB news: Blue Jays acquire Koehler

         The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired RHP Tom Koehler and cash from the Miami Marlins in exchange for RHP prospect Osman Gutierrez.

          The Blue Jays are in need of a starter. Koehler has been a solid 5th starter over the course of his career, but is having a terrible 2017. If he succeeds with Toronto, the Blue Jays could extend him. He is arbitration eligible after this year. They also don't really give up anything.

           Koehler, 31, has a 7.92 ERA, 1.72 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in 55.2 innings this year for Miami. In his six year MLB career, all for the Marlins, Koehler has a 4.43 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 586 strikeouts in 767.1 innings.

           The Marlins, who are having a terrible year, are just at the start of a fire-sale. All of their team has trade rumors surrounding them. Koehler is having a terrible year, and there is no need for him. The prospect they get, Gutierrez, is also having a terrible year, but at least he's younger. Plus, they get some salary off them.

            Gutierrez, 22, has a 7.35 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 78 innings at Lansing (Single-A) this year. In his minor league career, Gutierrez has a 4.88 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and 237 strikeouts in 262 innings.

            I think the Jays win this deal. They get a terrible major leaguer for a terrible minor leaguer, so it isn't a big deal for either team.

MLB news: Cubs claim Rivera off waivers

              The Chicago Cubs have claimed C Rene Rivera off waivers from the New York Mets.

               The Cubs, who are trying to beat out the Cardinals and Brewers for the NL Central lead, have starting catcher Willson Contreras on the DL. Their current starter, recently acquired Alex Avila, needs a backup. The Cubs have been using rookie Victor Caratini as their backup. Rivera is a veteran who is the average backup catcher. Bad hitter, good defensive catcher. In his career, he has thrown out 36% of runners in his career, which is sixth among all active catchers (Molina, Maldonado, Gomes, Hanigan and Barnhart) according to Baseball-Reference.

                Rivera, 34, has a .230 batting average, eight homers and 23 RBIs in 187 Plate Appearances for the Mets this year. In his nine year MLB career for the Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres, Rivera has a .215 batting average, 34 homers and 141 RBIs in 1386 Plate Appearances.

                 The Mets just get rid of their backup catcher and the remaining of his 1.75 million deal. This also opens up a spot for C Kevin Plawecki, who was recalled after the claim. Also, LHP Tommy Milone was recalled from AAA.