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Red Wings Firsts: Ryan Sproul

First NHL game served as glimpse into young defenseman's future

Wednesday, 07.9.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Red Wings Firsts: Ryan Sproul
Ryan Sproul produced three shots, two hits and two blocked shots while logging 18:25 of ice time in his debut. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – When Ryan Sproul was called up to Detroit for the first time, it served as a glimpse of things to come.

The defenseman was originally called up Feb. 25 to practice with the Red Wings as players were still slowly trickling back from the Olympic break. He returned to Grand Rapids the following day, but that wouldn’t be his first trip to Detroit.

Sproul, who was named to the 2013-14 American Hockey League All-Rookie team, became the ninth player to make his NHL debut with the Wings when he suited up for Detroit in the regular-season finale on April 13 in St. Louis.

“I felt pretty good,” Sproul said following Detroit’s 3-0 victory over the Blues. “It’s nice to get that over with, even though it is the end of the year, it’s nice to get that and hoping the best for these guys in the playoffs.”

It was also nice to skate alongside many familiar faces, as several of his teammates from the Griffins appeared in at least one game or were still playing with the Red Wings at the time of his call-up.

“It’s kind of nice to be in there,” Sproul said. “(Everyone) at my house back in GR, these guys are up here now. Calle (Mitch Callahan) came up, too. It’s definitely nice to be up here and be a part of that.”

But that didn’t mean Sproul’s NHL debut came without a few early jitters.

“More in the beginning, before I even stepped onto the ice I think it was more jitters,” Sproul said. “Kind of just turned the nerves into excitement and energy and that’s the way I try to play.”

The defenseman’s big hit on Blues center Derek Roy seemed to do the trick.

“I feed off that a lot,” Sproul said. “It’s not really my style of game but when I can do it, it definitely fires me up a little bit.”

Although his time with the Wings was short, Sproul’s size, speed and aggressiveness did not go unnoticed.

“He’s 6-foot-4, he can skate, he shoots BBs and he’s smart and he moves the puck,” Babcock said.

The 21-year-old registered three shots on goal, two hits and two blocked shots while logging 18:25 of ice time in his debut.

Sproul finished the regular season second among Griffins defensemen in scoring and third among AHL rookie defensemen overall. Through 72 regular-season games in Grand Rapids, he produced 11 goals and 21 assists, as well as 44 penalty minutes.

Prior to turning pro, the 6-4, 205-pound blueliner racked up 153 points, including 57 goals, in 172 games with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. In 2012-13, he won the OHL’s Max Kaminsky Trophy as the league’s most outstanding defenseman and was named the CHL Defenseman of the Year.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89