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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 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89