Daniel Sprong

by Mark Allan on January 7, 2018

 

Daniel Sprong, RW/LW

Shoots: R

Height: 6-0

Weight: 180

Born: 1997-03-17

Hometown: Amsterdam, NED

Drafted: 2nd round, 2015, Pittsburgh, 46th overall

 

 

 

Observations:

 

January 2018 – Taking advantage of Pittsburgh’s inexplicably lame offense that prompted a promotion from the AHL, the young Dutchman has two goals and three points in four NHL games. The speedy and opportunistic winger had a goal and a helper in a 4-0 win against the Islanders, playing mostly with Sidney Crosby and Dominik Simon as the youngsters inspired Crosby to his first four-point game this season. Named to the AHL all-star game, Sprong earned the callup to Pittsburgh by leading the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with 18 goals and 28 points in 29 games. Seven of those scores came on the powerplay and Sprong’s 18 goals lead all AHL rookies. It’s conceivable that he will stick with the big club for the rest of the season, particularly if fellow young hotshot Jake Guentzel continues to struggle. Mark Allan

 

 

December 2017 – After sniping nine goals in 17 games to tie Ryan Haggerty for the team lead, the precocious RW sits second in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton points with 14, one behind Dominik Simon. Sprong has future top-six Pittsburgh sniper written all over him. Mark Allan

 

October 2017 – With a goal and two helpers in a 6-1 win over the Syracuse Crunch, the precocious 20-year-old has scored in each of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s four AHL games. Already sitting on four goals and two assists, the speedy sniper is showing signs of following Jake Guentzel’s career track and forcing Pittsburgh to promote him without playing a full minor-league campaign. If so, position versatility could help him to make his return to the big time a triumph. Mark Allan


The sniping speedster joined 20 other players assigned en masse to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The difference between the highly skilled Sprong and many of the others is that his time in the AHL will be only temporary. The mass demotions leave 26 players in training camp before final cuts. Mark Allan

 

September 2017 – The speedy youngster is using his devastatingly effective shot whenever he can, pouring 20 toward the Buffalo goal in a game during the Prospects Challenge, and getting 15 on net. He will absolutely be an NHL sniper, although he might spend some time in the AHL first. Mark Allan

 

September 2017 – Like he did two years ago, young sniper Daniel Sprong is making a good impression at Pittsburgh’s training camp. The Penguins began an eventual 4-3 OT exhibition loss in Buffalo with the highly skilled RW on a line with fellow speedster Carl Hagelin and Greg McKegg. It’s not the scoring line he will eventually star on, but the Pens are unlikely to rush him after botching his first try at the NHL. While the young Dutchman’s best play is usually to shoot, he’s more likely to pass now to someone with better position. Virtually guaranteed a top-six placement when the remaining season on RW Patric Hornqvist’s contract expires, Sprong will likely get AHL seasoning in the short term, with callups along the way. Mark Allan

June 2017 – Sprong continues to post eye-popping statistics befitting a prolific scorer with quick feet, sure hands and a nose for the net. After returning from major shoulder surgery that cost him the first half of his season with the Charlottetown Islanders, the Flying Dutchman torched QMJHL opponents for 32 goals, 59 points and plus-29 in just 31 games. He was just as spectacular in the playoffs with nine goals and 11 assists in 12 games. With one campaign to go on his ELC, the electrifying Sprong is still learning how to integrate his talent into a team structure. He’s someone to watch at Pittsburgh’s training camp, although the Pens learned earlier not to rush him. Mark Allan

February 2017 – The sniping youngster has resumed his promising career path after rehabbing a devastating shoulder injury that required surgery. After missing more than half a year, the Dutch native has racked up seven goals and nine assists in only 13 junior games for the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL. It's only a matter of time before he forces his way onto the high-powered Pittsburgh lineup. Mark Allan  

November 2016 – The Flying Dutchman is nearing the five-month mark in his seven- to eight-month rehabilitation from shoulder surgery. When cleared for duty, he's expected to rejoin the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL and regain his sniping ability with his junior team. Mark Allan

September 2016 – The Flying Dutchman will need another four or five months to recover from shoulder surgery. The sniping young winger was injured during the Stanley Cup playoffs during practice as one of Pittsburgh's Black Aces. Although the surgery was successful, the devastating injury will likely set back Sprong's NHL's hopes a whole season. Expect him to return to junior with the QMJHL's Charlottetown Islanders for another season before making his presence felt at the Penguins' 2017 training camp. Mark Allan 

June 2016 – After the Penguins eventually decided to send him back to junior, the Flying Dutchman lit up the QMJHL with the Charlottetown Islanders. Using his dynamic skating, soft hands and goal-scorer's mindset, Sprong torched Q opponents for 16 goals and 30 assists in a mere 33 games, following that with 15 points in 12 post-season games. Most telling of all, the explosive winger then contributed five goals and two assists in 10 playoff games for the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. With two more seasons at a cap hit of $925,000 (including bonuses), Sprong can be brought along slowly. However, he might have been the best player in Pittsburgh's 2015 main training camp and a player with that low a cap hit would surely give Pittsburgh more wriggle room when the Pens break camp this fall. This kid will be an NHL star. The only question is when. Mark Allan

March 2016 – The young Dutchman is flying again back in junior with 15 goals and 44 points in 31 games in his third season with the QMJHL's Charlottetown Islanders. Ranked third among Pittsburgh prospects in the 2016 Future Watch, the ultra skilled young winger with the killer shot might get an opportunity with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL playoffs. As for next season, he might start in the AHL for some seasoning, although he has future NHL scorer written all over him. Mark Allan

January 2016 – After unexpectedly making Pittsburgh's NHL roster as an 18-year-old, then languishing on the fourth line and in the press box, Sprong is back to sniping in the QMJHL. In his third season with the Charlottetown Islanders, the skilled winger potted six goals and an assist in his first four games. He has a bright future with the Penguins, and should stick the next time he's called up after some AHL seasoning. Mark Allan

December 2015  – Pittsburgh finally sent its prized goal-scoring winger prospect back to his junior team in Charlottetown after he barely played in 18 games with the big club and was a healthy scratch for the other 13. Sprong led all scorers at Pittsburgh's rookie camp and might have been the best player at the Penguins' training camp, forcing his way onto the roster. After just two goals with minimal ice time, mostly on the fourth line, the Dutch native will get plenty of playing time with the QMJHL's Islanders, whom he led in scoring for the past two seasons. It's hard not to see this as mismanagement by GM Jim Rutherford. Sprong undoubtedly learned by osmosis, but a young player needs to play, and by not returning him to junior within 10 NHL games, Rutherford has burned a season of his entry contract. Mark Allan 

November 2015 – After scoring his second goal of the season in a 4-2 win over Edmonton, Sprong played in a pivotal game the next night as the road-weary Penguins fell 5-2 in Calgary. Sprong’s 10th game in a Pittsburgh uniform means his entry-level contract kicks in, confirming the Penguins’ obvious reluctance to send him back to junior. Getting nine minutes of ice time per game on the fourth line, and not dressing for every game, is not necessarily what Sprong needs to develop. He’s earned a chance, however, which arrived when veteran winger Pascal Dupuis fell ill in what might be a recurrence of a blood clot. With Dupuis in hospital, Sprong made the most of his limited chances in the back-to-back games, scoring on one of his two shots on goal in Edmonton. He went pointless in Calgary in nine minutes on the ice with no powerplay or shorthanded duties. Sprong took three shots (two of them on goal), blocked a shot, and recorded two hits. In other words, he was involved in his limited opportunities. Mark Allan

October – After potting one goal with no assists in five games with Pittsburgh, the highly skilled rookie right winger sat out a 3-2 OT win over Florida because he was in Canada getting an extension on his visa. In an earlier 2-1 victory over Toronto, Sprong played with a man advantage for 1:24, but just 12:30 in total. The Penguins have another four games to decide whether to keep the youngster up in the NHL or return him to his junior team in the QMJHL to maximize his ice time. Mark Allan

October – In a development that would have been virtually unthinkable before the salary cap era, the 18-year-old Dutch native will open the season on Pittsburgh's roster. NHL teams these days need inexpensive young players who contribute. Sprong convinced management he fit that description by playing assertively, scoring three goals in five pre-season games and quite possibly being the best player in camp. The Penguins can still return him to junior up to nine games into the season, but Sprong has passed another important test en route to living his dream. Mark Allan 

October – Enjoying an outstanding pre-season with three goals so far, the talented youngster is still on the roster after Pittsburgh cut to 25 players. His explosive shot is as advertised, while Sprong's skating is better than expected. He hasn't made the opening-day roster yet, and he could still be returned to his QMJHL squad up to nine games into the Penguins' season, but assertiveness blended with eye-opening, goal-scoring skill have made him a pre-season standout. Mark Allan

October – Considering he's just 18 and Pittsburgh is deeper at right wing after acquiring Phil Kessel, it would be surprising if the Dutch hotshot makes the opening-day NHL roster. Yet he's still with the big club, and he continues to impress. While positives were hard to find for the Penguins in a 7-2 pre-season shellacking by Detroit, the flashy youngster scored his second exhibition goal, assisted by Kessel and David Perron. Sprong also had seven of Pittsburgh's 38 shots on goal. Sprong has a bright future as an NHL scorer. Mark Allan

September 2015 – While it's unlikely he will stick with the NHL club to start the season, the 2015 second-round pick has been impressive in camp so far. Only 18, the Dutch native has impressed head coach Mike Johnston by visibly improving as camp wears on. Mark Allan

September 2015 – The talented youngster got noticed Sept. 22 with a goal and an assist, both on the power play, in Pittsburgh's second pre-season game, a 7-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Although Sprong finished minus-1, he had three shots on goal, one hit and even a blocked shot. It's still early and he's very young, but he's worth watching. Mark Allan

June 2015 – Could be the steal of the second round at 46. A boom or bust pick on the team that could really emphasize the word 'boom' here. Worth sitting on for two or three years. Dobber

February 2015 – Born in the Netherlands, Daniel Sprong has the dynamic game that teams want in a top-line prospect. He’s capable of flashing one-on-one attacking ability with his slick puck skills and then unleashing a deceptively quick shot. Unfortunately, Sprong has struggled to put all of these skills together on a consistent basis. Sprong is a confident player but has been caught trying to individually carry the team’s offensive attack at times as well. Despite being a good skater, Sprong has started to become a perimeter player, especially against tough checking defenses. He owns the skills to be a Top 15 selection and that could happen if he can mature his game. Brendan Ross

 

 

Fantasy Outlook: A-

One of the most exciting players when he’s on top of his game, Sprong owns the offensive skillset to develop into a top-six scoring winger. Shoulder surgery and a long layoff have delayed, but not prevented, his return to the NHL.

 

Footage:

Possibilities – Daniel Sprong:

 

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