‘He’s been everything we expected’ – Coach
Daniel Sprong has come as advertised to the Charlottetown Islanders’
By Jason Malloy
Daniel Sprong is enjoying his first training camp with the Charlottetown Islanders.
“It’s fun being the rookie,” he said following Thursday’s practice. “You get picked on, you have to pick up pucks, but I don’t mind it. It’s a good time.”
Sprong, a five-foot-10, 162-pound winger from Montreal, was selected 13th overall in the June draft by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team.
He is enjoying his time and said he is lucky to have a group of veterans showing him the ropes.
“The first couple of days I was a bit nervous coming into a new environment, but after a couple of days you feel right at home,” he said. “I’m having fun and hopefully it’s going to be a good team this year.”
Veteran Matt Bursey said the first-round pick is a nice kid with lots of skill and speed.
“Spronger has great hands too,” he said.
Sprong scored 48 goals and recorded 104 points in 30 games with Lac Saint-Louis Tigres in the midget espoir league last season in Quebec.
“He’s as advertised,” coach Gordie Dwyer said. “He’s in great shape. He’s real dynamic. He’s going to be an offensive threat in the league. He’s been everything we expected.”
Dwyer said he’s a motivated player with undeniable talent. While there will be an adjustment period, Dwyer said Sprong could contribute in the team’s top-six forwards this season.
He is one of a stable of young horses the Islanders have assembled.
“We have some other players who have really stepped up as well in camp and performed well. Alex Goulet has been great. He brings a lot of speed. Bradley Kennedy has probably been one of our biggest surprises,” Dwyer said. “His talent has really been on display here for the last two weeks. We feel we have some really good young pieces and we like our draft so far.”
The Islanders have 30 players remaining in camp. Overage forward Matej Beran was expected to arrive Thursday from the Czech Republic and may be on the ice today for practice. He has not been in camp because of a visa issue.
Troy Vance is with the Dallas Stars. He is one of a handful of players that will be attending NHL camps, including Beran (Columbus), Eric Brassard (Tampa Bay), Antoine Bibeau (Toronto), Ryan Graves (New York Rangers) and Yan Pavel Laplante (Phoenix).
Dwyer is pleased with how camp has gone so far.
“The compete level has been very high,” he said. “We have a real young team, so everyone is trying to earn their spot.”
The Islanders are on the road Saturday in Sydney, N.S., to play the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at 7 p.m.