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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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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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