When Daniel Sprong was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Christian Djoos, the Washington Capitals were swapping one of their defensive gems for an offensive gem that used to be part of the Pittsburgh Penguins farm system. Now he’s ours and he became a fan favorite last season.
In Sprong’s first season with the Caps, the young forward scored 13 goals and added seven assists for 20 points while appearing in 42 of the 56 regular season games. Sprong also played in three playoff games and had an assist but honestly he should’ve played in all five games.
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Expect Sprong to step in a bigger role next season. I would expect him to start on the third line and perhaps even moving up to the second by season’s end, flipping spots with T.J. Oshie while Oshie still kills it. He will also get more time on the power play starting with the second unit and working his way up to the first.
With a full 82 game season on the horizon, expect Sprong to blossom into an elite goal scorer that could have a 20-goal season for the first time in his career. He has the potential to do great things as he’s one of the few younger players on this veteran led Caps team. In fact he’s one of just two players on the team under 25, the other being Ilya Samsonov.
The Caps do need a youth movement and if they decide to get younger at the trade deadline or next offseason expect guys like Daniel Sprong to lead the charge. Sprong also had decent advanced stats. He had a 50 percent Corsi For percentage, a 49.67 percent High Danger Chances For percentage and a 49.64 percent Expected Goals For percentage.
The Caps believed in Sprong’s future enough that they decided to protect him in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. Both Peter Laviolette and Brian MacLellan know the potential that Sprong will bring to the table next season and beyond.
Sprong got really hot at the end of the season, scoring six goals in Washington’s final eight games. That stretch included two against the New York Islanders, and some exciting goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers. I’m sure the Penguins wish he never got away.