The Daniel Sprong experiment, for now, is over with the announcement today that the Pittsburgh Penguins have assigned the 18-year-old to the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Playing 18 games this season, Sprong has scored two goals, with his first coming on Oct. 15 against the Ottawa Senators. Averaging only 8:49 of ice time a game raises the question as to why Sprong was prematurely sent to the national level if he was not going to get more ice time or stay with the club longer.
It is also worth noting that Sprong cannot re-join the Pittsburgh Penguins until the junior season has concluded. The final game for the Islanders this season is March 19, which would be the earliest the forward would be able to rejoin the team.
The Penguins made a subsequent move, recalling forward Scott Wilson from Wilkes-Barre. Scoring 15 goals and tallying nine assists, Wilson tied for the AHL lead in goals at the time of his recall. The native of Oakville, Ontario first entered the league last year against the New Jersey Devils.
After suffering a knee injury that kept him out most of the season, Wilson came back to eventually play in three postseason games against the New York City Rangers. The former seventh-round pick by Pittsburgh currently is currently placed at 11 among AHL point leaders with 24.
“Spending this time in the NHL has been a good development experience for Daniel,” Rutherford said about reassigning Sprong through the team’s social media accounts. “But it’s important for him to have more playing time.”
Eight or nine minutes does not cut it for a high-ceiling player like Sprong. Anxiousness will have to continue for another year for witnessing a Sprong-Crosby infused line. The young player still needs time to develop, but rushing him this year may have been a mistake considering his entry-level deal has now been burned.
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette