Sometimes no matter how hard you strive or achieve in sports, certain circumstances just aren’t meant to be.
You could argue that case for former Toronto Marlie Spencer Abbott, who was traded for the first time in his career this season.
Abbott had a spectacular 2013/14 for the Maple Leafs affiliate, which ironically started in the worst way possible for the right winger.
Called up to the Leafs, Abbott would make his NHL debut on October 5, 2013, in a come from behind shootout win for Toronto in their home opener. The former University of Maine graduate received just five minutes of ice-time however, was a minus two and would never be called upon by Randy Carlyle despite being one of the AHL’s elite player in the month’s to follow.
Abbott was sent straight back to Ricoh the following day and recorded a single assist in a 5-1 victory over Lake Erie, that began a 13 game point streak to start the season for him (1G/18A).
Just his second year in professional hockey went from strength-to-strength, recording 18 multi-point games in accumulating 16 goals and 52 assists for 69 points.
Finishing seventh in all skaters for points accrued, all those above him played more games, as injury curtailed the end of the regular season for Abbott.
Abbott would miss Toronto’s first playoff series but returned for the second round sweep of Chicago, where he tallied three points.
He then did as much as anyone during the in the Conference Final series against Texas, putting up eight points including a hat-trick but it wasn’t to be with a late collapse in the deciding seventh game to the eventual Calder Cup Champions.
The former Hobey Baker nominee must have come into the 2014 camp with much optimism but he barely received a glance from the Leafs top brass and was sent to the Marlies before many other young players and rookies.
That must have been a dagger blow for a man lauded by the Toronto organisation the season before and he never really looked the same player. His struggles mirrored those of the Marlies as the team struggled to string wins together and by the turn of the year Abbott had 16 in 29 games with just one multi-point effort for a forward known for match winning efforts and star performances the season before.
You don’t become a bad player overnight and February 26, 2015, would prove the turnaround date for Abbott, as Chicago traded him in exchange for a former team-mate in T.J Brennan. The two had combined so brilliantly the season before and I’m sure the irony wasn’t lost on the pair of them.
Immediately sent down to Rockford, Abbott was carrying a slight injury at the time of the trade and would have to wait until March 6, to make his debut. Surely determined to make an impact, he did more than that with a goal and an assist in his first time in Rockford colours and proceeded to put up three multi-point games in his first five outings and was at PPG pace through his first ten games.
Abbott would suit up 19 times the end of the 14/15 regular season and only be held off the score sheet on six occasions. His six game point streak helped Rockford clinch the fourth playoff berth and finish only a point behind divisional rivals Grand Rapids.
His 21 points for Rockford may not have been a surprise but the face that twelve of those were goals would be, as the at times reluctant shooter was finding the net with regularity.
Abbott kept his run of form heading into the post-season and his pair of powerplay markers helped Rockford come from behind to defeat Texas in game one. Having swept the Calder Cup holders, Rockford are currently engaged in battle with the Grand Rapids Griffins and although they’ve found life tough, Abbott has tried to do his part, and is second in points for the IceHogs as they look to stay alive in the series in the upcoming game five.
A UFA heading into the summer, Abbott has certainly given himself the best opportunity to gain a new contract, whether that be in North America or a new adventure.