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Wings in Waiting: Ryan Sproul

Prospect possesses one of the hardest shots in the organization

Wednesday, 07.16.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Wings in Waiting: Ryan Sproul
The Red Wings hope that prospect Ryan Sproul can be among the next great defensemen for the parent club. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – Defenseman Ryan Sproul was the ninth and final player to make his NHL debut with the Red Wings last season.

Although he only appeared in one game, the regular-season finale, the organization is excited about Sproul’s potential.

“We haven't had a defenseman in the organization to shoot the puck as hard as he does since I remember,” said Jiri Fischer, Detroit’s director of player development. “He gets it through, every shot is dangerous and the way it comes off his stick, goalies have a hard time reacting. That's a gift.”

Sproul signed a three-year entry-level contract with Detroit in March 2012 following his second junior season with Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League. He was the third-leading scorer for the Greyhounds and was third amongst all OHL defensemen with 54 points.

He scored 23 goals with 31 assists and was plus-16 with 53 penalty minutes in 61 games for the Greyhounds, a team that he almost didn’t join.

“He was thinking about going to play college,” Fischer said. “He was recruited by Michigan. He ended playing junior in Sault Ste. Marie and last year he graduated the OHL as the top defenseman in the league. Later at the Memorial Cup, he was voted the CHL defenseman of the year. We've never had a defenseman that was drafted by Detroit receive that honor.”

During his third season with the Greyhounds, Sproul finished second in scoring with 20 goals and 46 assists through 50 games.

After Sault Ste. Marie was eliminated from the playoffs, Sproul joined the Grand Rapids Griffins in April 2013. In two regular-season games, the defenseman was a minus-1 with two penalty minutes and no points, and didn’t appear in any of the club’s playoff games.

In his first full season with the Griffins, Sproul earned 11 goals and 21 assists, the second highest scoring defenseman on the team.

Despite his success in Grand Rapids last season, Sproul still has plenty to work on.

“He always likes to take off out of the D zone, even before the puck leaves,” Fischer said. “He likes to use skill in the D zone. He worked on it and he's gotten better.

“Ryan can be really special. The defensive part, he's working on it. I think it's just a matter of time until he convinces everyone that 'I've done my duty and this is my time.’ ”

SCHEDULE

HOME
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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80