Another day, another prospect profile. Today we look at Daniel Sprong, a highly talented Dutch-born winger playing for the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL.
First of all, Sprong is right up there among the other top draft-eligible forwards coming out of the QMJHL. His point per game numbers are just a shade behind the likes of Timo Meier, Evgeni Svechnikov, and Anthony Beauvillier, and his shot per game totals are a fair deal behind Meier and Beauvillier but still well ahead of Svechnikov. Overall, by the numbers he ranks solidly among the best QMJHLers in the draft.
Sprong also has solid numbers when it comes to the projection tools. The PCS% tool says Sprong has an 18.92% chance of reaching 200 NHL games (which is actually pretty good). Some of his recent comparables using this tool include Steve Bernier, James Sheppard, Angelo Esposito, and former Leafs prospect Chris DiDomenico. Those comparables are not so good.
The Projection Project likes him a lot more, saying he has a 55% chance of becoming an NHLer, with some of his comparables including Dany Heatley, Justin Williams, Scott Hartnell, and Brad Boyes. So that’s good.
As for the draft rankings, he’s ranked 18th by Future Considerations, 20th by NHL Central Scouting (North American skaters), 26th by ISS, and 28th by Hockey Prospect. So he’s right in the range of the Leafs’ pick at 24th overall.
THE EYE TEST
Sprong is among the most talented players in this entire draft.
Here’s my personal scouting report on him:
A naturally gifted skater and puck-handler. Plays the sort of dynamic game that naturally
leads to goal-scoring opportunities for either him or his teammates. Possesses high-end vision but still needs to
work on his passing ability. Has one of
the better shots in this draft class that is equal parts strong and
accurate. Thrives in the offensive part
of the game. Needs some work
defensively. Probably the biggest issue
in his game is a mixture of trying to do too much with the puck and not being a
gifted enough passer to try and make some of the plays that he attempts. If he was more gifted at executing some of
the passes he tries, he would likely be a top ten pick. Despite his flaws, he plays in such a way
that most of his issues will likely be ironed out through two more years of
seasoning in the QMJHL. Probably
deserves to be rated a lot closer to the top ten than some people have him at. Very, very skilled. High upside.
His 1.29 points per game and 3.97 shots per game put him among the very
best in this draft class. Lacks a little
bit of polish to his game and isn’t yet ready to make the jump to the pros, but
he could very easily be someone that is looked at years from now as someone who
should have been drafted even higher than
Here’s a video that is equal parts good and creepy that gives you a better idea of the talent that Sprong has:
DOES HE MAKE THE LEAFS’ SHORTLIST?
Given the Leafs’ shift in philosophy to one that emphasizes skill, you’d have to think they’ve had some meaningful discussion about Sprong and that he’s at least on their radar. If you want the Leafs to start making high risk, high reward picks, Sprong fits that to a tee. If Sprong is still sitting there when it’s time for the Leafs to pick at 24, he’ll almost assuredly be the most purely talented player left in the entire draft. Granted, there will be other good players sitting there at 24 whether or not Sprong is still there, and despite his high upside there’s a good chance that the Leafs will like someone else more at that spot. In any event, I’d definitely keep Sprong in mind as we approach the draft because he aligns closely with the team’s new focus on talent and upside.