When it comes to the NHL Entry Draft, one of the wisest strategies going is picking the best player available. Often times, attitude issues, or rather perceived character problems, can cause a player to fall, which generally benefits the team that eventually drafts said player. An incredibly talented player, like Josh Ho-Sang for example, can fall to 28th, despite being one of the most talented players available. Considering the Habs are picking 26th, the odds of them picking up one of the most skilled forwards this summer seem far fetched, but there's a very real possibility that Daniel Sprong may be available.
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Position: Right Wing
Heigth: 6’0" Weight: 183lbs
Far and away Charlottetown's best player, Sprong finished 14th among all QMJHL scorers. Among 17-year-olds, Sprong was sixth in league scoring, and first in terms of percentage of his team's goals created. Essentially, he's an offensive dynamo. He loves to take on defenders, utilizing his silky smooth skating to confuse them, as well as his stellar wrist shot to create goals.
He's doesn't limit his abilities to scoring goals, seeing as how he possesses high-end playmaking skills. Of course, like most offensively inclined of his age, Sprong isn't exactly a defensive specialist, however the fact of the matter is that more often than not he keeps the puck 200 feet away from his goalie.
Sprong is an electric player in the offensive zone and can create scoring chances from nothing. He is a well-‐ rounded and dynamic skater who can beat you in so many ways. His acceleration and speed are unequivocally elite. He seems to relish an opportunity to go one-‐on-‐one with a defender and he is successful more often than not. Sprong has a goal scorer’s mentality and is relentless in his attack. He also possesses an incredible weapon in his absolute laser of a shot. Sprong isn't strictly a goal scorer and he finds teammates well with skilled passes. Sprong has incredible offensive potential and has the ability to put up elite point totals.
With the puck in the offensive zone, he can score goals without the help of his teammates, his offensive skills at this level are that good compared to the others. He can beat goaltenders from anywhere in the offensive zone with his shot, his release is among the best The negative side with this skill level is that at times, he tries to do too much with the puck and can be victim of turnovers. He also could make better use of his linemates. He made nice strides to his overall game during this season, even after a rough start (to his standard), but there’s no denying that Sprong has game-breaking abilities.
Future Considerations: 18th
Hockey Prospect: 37th
Craig Button: 38th
Central Scouting, North American Skaters: 20th
Bob McKenzie: 33rd
It's incredibly tough to gauge where Sprong will go come June 26th, considering most of the experts are split when it comes to his true value.
If anything, the NHL combine doesn't seem to have helped Sprong's case.
Just read some of these quotes from various NHL scouts
Has the skill to go high because he is a dangerous goal-‐scorer. Pair him up with a decent playmaker and he could potentially score 30-‐35 goals in the NHL. But he is very one-‐dimensional, and lacks the size and drive to play defensively to be anything other than a goal scorer.
Oh, just a 35 goal potential, the horror.
"He reminds me of Ho-Sang out there. He’s sliding down my list where we wouldn’t get him."
"His interview (Combine) was the worst one this year, reminded me of Shinkaruk a few years ago."
Clearly Sprong rubs some people the wrong way, but if we're being honest, the most important NHL scout quote available when it comes to this elite forward is the following:
"At the end of the day he’s one of the most skilled players in this draft."
Maturity generally comes with age, but natural talent is impossible to teach. The Habs should probably consider drafting one of the most talented players in the draft if he happens to remain on the board, especially since it's not every day you can pick up a player of Sprong's ilk with the 26th pick.