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Prospects impress Wings' brass in OHL

Monday, 10.1.2012 / 2:40 PM ET / News
By Kevin Wilson  - Red Wings Social Media Coordinator
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Prospects impress Wings\' brass in OHL

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SAGINAW, Mich. – It was the first of a handful of Ontario Hockey League games that will feature a pair of Red Wings’ prospects this season.

Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Ryan Sproul, a Wings 2011 draft pick, assisted on three goals and earned the No. 2 star in a 3-2 overtime win last Saturday against the Saginaw Spirit and fellow prospect and last June’s third-round pick Jake Paterson.

“Ryan’s a very exciting player for our organization,” said Jim Nill, the Red Wings assistant general manager. “He’s a defenseman and you can never have enough defensemen. He’s got good size, skates very well. He’s got a very good shot, puts up good numbers offensively. He’s one of our top prospects on the back end.”

The 19-year-old Sproul is a player that the Wings’ brass is very high on – and with the way he played at the Dow Event Center last weekend – it showed why.

That big booming shot so many have talked about lead to two goals as Paterson had to make tough saves and the rebounds were banged home, one of which was the game-winner in overtime. Sproul moved the puck well and started a few rushes going the other way.

“He’s just such an effective player on the offensive side of the puck,” Greyhounds coach Mike Stapleton said. “He can create so much with his speed and his shot and it showed in the last minute.

“On the defensive side, he was playing against the best players tonight so he’s all around got a pretty good game.”

Sault Ste. Marie vs Saginaw

Sproul nearly bounced in the game’s first goal on Paterson, the 18-year-old Mississauga, Ontario, native. Paterson made an initial kick-save on Paterson, but Soo center Nick Cousins slapped in a rebound at 7:19 of the second period.

“The upside is there, it’s up to Ryan to push forward, but he’s got the gift to play the offensive side,” Stapleton said. “But he’s learning the defensive side and if he figures that out there is great potential for him.”

The potential for Paterson, who turned in a 30-save shutout last week, may be just as good.

“We’re excited about his play,” Nill said. “The last half of last season he really took off and had a very strong playoff for Saginaw and he’ll be the No. 1 goalie in Saginaw and we’re really excited about his development.”

Through four games, Paterson has a 1-1-2 record with a 2.95 goals-against average, this season.

“Jake’s been outstanding for us all season long for us up to this point,” Spirit coach Greg Gilbert said. “He’s a very mature young man and he’s got a lot of mental toughness.”

Despite giving up three goals, Paterson was outstanding, making 33 saves, several of which were of the acrobatic or sprawling variety. He played big, made himself square, and covered a lot of the net. But the most outstanding quality in Paterson’s game has to be his competitive nature. He battled and stopped second and third chances and never gave up on a play.

The Wings seem to have big plans for Paterson, who has already begun to work with goalie coaches Jim Bedard and Chris Osgood.

“He’ll be working with Ozzie and Jim Bedard a lot,” Nill said. “They’ll go watch him play and go to practices and work with him there. It really works out well for him playing so close to Detroit.

“We hope (he’ll be an NHL starter). He’s got a ways to go, obviously. With goalies, the development is usually a bit slower. It’s a tough position to play both physically and mentally.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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