The Detroit Red Wings have had themselves a big off-season. Even in a year where the free agency class was dull, the Red Wings found ways to get the job done and upgrade their roster. There have been changes, but they feel they are leaving the Red Wings better off moving forward.
For the Detroit Red Wings, they have gone out and made some signings to better the team. Then, adding in Alex DeBrincat via trade has only made the off-season even better. But one of the signings they made early in free agency could be very valuable for him.
Daniel Sprong agreed to a one-year contract to come to the Red Wings organization. He’ll take home $2 million this season and be an unrestricted free agent after this season. But the Red Wings will try to maximize his value and find the optimal way to use him.
That will entail utilizing him in a really offensive role, sheltering him in the defensive zone, and maximizing his offensive output. The name of the game is going to be the way the team deploys him. Shuffling lines at times to get him on the ice in the offensive zone, helping him get into high-performance situations.
Detroit Red Wings are hoping to squeeze value from Daniel Sprong.
It was an intriguing signing from the get-go, but one of the things the Seattle Kraken did was find ways to tap into his offense. In 2022-23, Sprong played in 66 games, where he scored 21 goals and added 25 assists for 46 total points.
It was a career year for goals and points, doubling his career-best from prior seasons. Being able to put Sprong on the ice with chances to find success and help put the puck in the back of the net was the name of the game.
Last season saw a jump in his offensive zone start percentage (oZS%), being up to 67.0%, which means the Kraken were putting him on the ice for shifts in the offensive zone with draws being on offense when he was used. The Red Wings need to do the same, getting him into the offensive zone to see if the same type of offensive results are able to be had in Detroit.
Another thing that stands out to me is his Corsi rankings. Looking at 2022-23, Sprong had a 60.5 CF% ranking of 10.8% better than the Kraken team ranking. This implies that he was on the ice for more shots and scoring chances, then Seattle gave up while he was on the ice.
It’s not a testament to his defense, as it’s a noted weak spot in his game, but rather speaking to Seattle trying to get him in involved in the offensive zone. Something that certainly worked well for them throughout last season.
On top of that, his PDO was 103.9 in 2022-23. PDO is loosely noted to be a “measure of luck” because it takes into account “luck-driven” stats in save percentage and shooting percentage. This tends to fluctuate when players are able to prevent goals in the defensive zone and finish off scoring chances in the offensive zone.
For Sprong, the defense is not the most exciting, but the ability to finish off scoring chances and find the back of the net likely boosts this. All of these stats mentioned align with this offensive upside and the Kraken’s good use of him.
For the Red Wings, they have to be looking to duplicate this usage. If anything, the Red Wings will hope to mix him into their forward core and figure out how to get him into positions to do damage.
Frankly, it seems like he could sneak up onto the second line, but I have a feeling Sprong could be the wildcard who bounces around the forward core in 5-on-5 situations. It will be interesting to see how the Red Wings utilize him this fall, but hopefully, they keep this in mind.