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Insider Only Fallout of the Daniel Sprong Trade & failure to trade top prospects before value plummets

Fallout of the Daniel Sprong Trade

Up until about a week ago, the Penguins and Ducks had a number of trade talks regarding a much bigger trade than the minor one that happened Monday.

But, as if often the case and especially this time of the year, after a significant trade between the two sides doesn’t come together, you’ll see a small one come together and that’s what happened here with the Daniel Sprong – Marcus Pettersson swap.

From the Ducks end, this move is being praised around the league in that when you’re a team like Anaheim that’s looking to add more skill, you should always take a flier on trading a third pairing type defenseman (where most scouts see Pettersson maxing out at) for a potential top-6 winger.

The upside in this trade is clearly in Anaheim’s favor, though, Sprong has just as good of a chance as being a complete dud than emerging as a legitimate top-9 player.

From Pittsburgh’s end, it has to come into question of how many left handed defensemen do you actually need.

Pittsburgh already has too many lefties that has forced a problematic situation of playing d-men on their wrong side, but the Penguins saw this trade scenario as more of a long-term move to bolster the organization’s depth at a weak position with a player in Pettersson who is starting to establish himself as an NHL player and whose game can still grow.

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Pettersson projects to be an okay addition to the organization, a steady defensive minded low upside type d-man with a good first pass, but this trade is always going to be about whether Sprong can prove his East-West game translates to the NHL and make the Penguins look wrong.

At the end of the day, the Penguins coaching staff didn’t believe Sprong could play at this level and for the present it’s hard to fault them on that.

The issues with Sprong wasn’t just his play away from the puck (far down the list) or the poor hockey sense (among the reasons Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin never wanted to play with him). It was how bad he struggled to get his shot off that in the coaches eyes made Sprong unplayable.

Sprong never earned a spot is how Mike Sullivan & Co looked at the situation.

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Sprong is not going to become Markus Naslund part II, zero chance of that, but looking back, where Pittsburgh has missed with the Sprong and Derick Pouliot situations is trading each too late when they’re value had already plummeted.

Doubts in the organization for Sprong started before this season and well before Pouliot was eventually moved.

For Sprong there were signs of his value around the league starting to decrease even last season around the trade deadline when his name was not getting Pittsburgh in the mix for Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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