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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 - 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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