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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

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59