When the Detroit Red Wings went out and brought in Daniel Sprong this off-season, it felt like a good gamble by General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman. The team needed depth in the forward core and scoring forward to help pad the middle-six to bottom-six, which was a bargain in Sprong.
For the Detroit Red Wings, paying Sprong $2 million for one year on a contract that allows them to take a chance on the winger was smart. He's turned out to be great for Detroit and has been a big piece of the Red Wings offense. Especially as of late, he seemed to have turned things on heading into the break.
With the Red Wings' middle six buzzing (especially the third line) and creating offense, it was good to see Sprong a part of this, making the most of his chances with Detroit. There's something to be said about Sprong and how the team has deployed him amid the forward core. It's fostered success from the winger.
Detroit has to be hoping that the right-handed shooting winger can continue to prove beneficial to the Red Wings down the stretch. He's got the potential to keep tapping into offense and helping Detroit score goals, which has already been huge for the Red Wings to rely on.
Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Sprong has been used well.
One of the biggest things that comes to mind with Sprong is his usage. The Seattle Kraken learned this pretty early on with him, and they were able to put him in spots to succeed, and it worked. It's likely what drew Yzerman to Sprong, hoping Detroit could do the same with a good surrounding cast.
In 2022-23, Sprong scored 21 goals and added 25 assists for 46 total points over 66 games played, all while averaging just 11:44 in ice time each night for the Kraken. It's something we've hit on before: maximizing Sprong's chances gives him the chance to succeed, and the Red Wings have done an excellent job of this, for the most part, leading to success in 2023-24.
This year, Sprong has played in all 50 games for the Red Wings, with 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 total points. He's on a similar pace as last season, running the numbers if Sprong played in 66 games, but on the season, he's expected to surpass last year's numbers.
With the remainder of the year, he's expected to break last year's point total and cross past the 50-point threshold. But there are more accurate ways to look at things, as it's just simple math and proportions. But it provides some measure at least to compare the years.
But Sprong's in a similar spot with the Red Wings, being used in a similar fashion. Limited ice time and chances, but when he's out there, it's the chances that allow him to succeed when things go as planned. It's certainly only helped him do well for Detroit this year.
It seems like many A's are being given out, but even after a tough month of December, many things have gone well overall in the first half. Fifty games down and 32 to go, but Sprong has looked the part. He is exactly what the expectations were. When used right, it works. When he's in bad spots, he struggles.
The same could be said about any player, but if you buried Sprong on the fourth line and confined him to defensive zone starts and chances that don't lead to offensive production, those numbers would look much worse. Take Sprong for what he is: an offensive forward with a knack for creating chances by way of his own stick or playmaking abilities.
With 32 games left on the schedule, I like Sprong's odds of continuing to be an essential piece of what the Red Wings are trying to do offensively. Especially if the team continues to see success from the supporting cast outside of that top line, Sprong has a chance to be solid for Detroit.