Published on October 15, 2015
Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury celebrates a 2-0 shutout win over the Ottawa Senators with Daniel Sprong, who scored his first NHL goal, in the NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
Published on October 07, 2015
These are the words Daniel Sprong's Charlottetown Islanders teammates and coaching staff used to describe him before Wednesday's practice.
Photo illustration by Wade Babineau
Published on September 15, 2015
Pittsburgh Penguins' Daniel Sprong celebrates his game-winning goal in overtime action at the 2015 Rookie Tournament Friday September 11, 2015 in London, Ontario. Pittsburg won the game 4-3.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley
Published on August 24, 2015
Daniel Sprong is coming back to Charlottetown.
The Pittsburgh Penguins reassigned the 18-year-old right-winger to the Islanders on Saturday.
“Spending this time in the NHL has been a good development experience for Daniel,” said Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford. “But it’s important for him to have more playing time.”
Sprong has two goals in 18 NHL games.
The timing couldn’t be better for the Islanders, a team that has struggled through the first half without its best player and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League trade period beginning today.
“Our team is better with Daniel Sprong no doubt about it,” general manager Grant Sonier said. “Daniel is an elite player at this level.”
Sprong had 39 goals and 49 assists for 88 points in 68 games last season for the Islanders. He had 30 goals and 38 assists for 68 points in 67 games in his rookie season in 2013-14.
Sprong is expected to boost the Islanders offence and power play, which will help a team that has lost more than 10 one-goal games (excluding empty-net goals).
“This is our centrepiece at the forward position,” Sonier said.
But he cautioned Sprong will not singlehandedly turn around the Isles (13-19-2-1) season.
“Our team, in general, is going to get a lift . . . but by no means is he the savior,” Sonier said.
He spoke to the Montreal-area resident and Amsterdam native, who he called the best player in the franchise’s history, shortly after the news broke Saturday morning.
“I hear it in his voice, he’s excited to come back and play,” Sonier said.
Sprong asked him who the team’s next game was against. It’s the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Dec. 28 in Sydney, N.S. The first home game is Dec. 30 against Moncton.
Sonier said he expects Sprong to hit the ground running and show his improved 200-foot game from his NHL experience.
The Islanders are actively involved in trade discussions, but haven’t made any trades. Sonier said the asking price remains high.
“We’re going to try to add some more pieces,” the GM said, while noting “we don’t want to mortgage our future.”