Ryan Sproul was first brought into the Red Wings system back in 2011 when he was drafted in the second round (55th overall). Since then, he has progressed to become a solid AHL defenseman with a shot at making the big leagues. He’ll certainly get his chance this year, whether with the Wings or with another team, as he is waiver eligible this year.
He’s currently an RFA, and doesn’t have a contract, so we’ll see what that means with regards to his future.
BY THE NUMBERS
He’s shown his offensive potential over the years, producing in both the OHL and AHL. This season may have been his best yet, putting up an AHL career high 12 goals and 35 points, as well as nine points in nine playoff games. He’s become one of the Griffins best defensemen, but he still has some work to do on his defensive game.
Back in 2013-14, Sproul made his NHL debut against the St. Louis Blues amidst the season that saw just about everyone get injured. He had a solid possession game that night, with a 72.22% CF%, and got 18:25 of ice time. Not bad for an NHL debut, but he hasn’t played an NHL game since.
Sproul has done an excellent job of continuing to develop his game since he was drafted to become an all-around defenseman. The hard work that he’s put in may pay off this season, as he has to stay with the Wings unless they want to lose him for nothing. This will be his most important training camp, as it will be the difference between playing in the big leagues every day, or sitting in the press box every game.
There’s also the chance that he might get put on waivers, and in that case he’ll either go to a team that has the room to play him, or he’ll go to the minors, and play another year in a top four role, which would be better for his development than sitting in the press box.
At this point, the Red Wings are more in control of Sproul’s development than Sproul himself is. He’s shown that he deserves the chance to play in the NHL, so it’s up to the Wings to play their cards right and potentially develop him into a top 4 role. However, they’ve shown that they can’t do that so far, so odds are we’ll see Sproul (and Ouellet) in the press box in favour of Jonathan Ericsson.