STOCK UP FROM PENGUINS 4-2 LOSS TO BLUE JACKETS
Daniel Sprong | Playing much together competition than Tuesday night, putting Sprong in the lineup to face a physical Blue Jackets’ team was a great chance to evaluate him for the Penguins coaching staff. Sprong did not disappoint and he was one of the Penguins leaders in creating scoring chances and had 5 shots on goal, all coming at even strength.
“I think it was a huge step for me,” Sprong said of his performance against the Blue Jackets. “If you look at that Columbus lineup, it was almost their whole NHL team. Matching up with Foligno and (Brandon) Saad or Johansen’s line, it was a pretty good taste for me of what NHL quality is.”
Mike Johnston was gushing afterwards about how good Sprong looked against the Blue Jackets.
“Sprong for me has been a pleasant surprise because he’s a difference maker in games,” Johnston said. “He goes out on the ice to make a difference. Some guys play the game, he makes a difference…..Almost every game, every practice, I see him getting better,” Johnston said. “As an 18-year-old kid, you look at him and say, ‘Boy’, how much can he improve over the next little while and how much can he improve through this season? He’s a bright light for us on the wing. I just like when he hits the ice he tries to make a difference.”
A key quote from Johnston was this:
“He just has to give myself and coaching staff confidence that he’s not going to be a defensive liability like a lot of young players,” Johnston said of Sprong.
Solution to that — Put him on the third line to start the season with Nick Bonino and Pascal Dupuis, two forwards who play their own end well and see where it goes. —
There is nothing to lose with a nine game tryout for Sprong and as written a few days ago, some in the know believe it will be great for his development.
Adam Clendening | Readers of the site can’t be surprised that Clendening is making some noise in camp. Four games into the preseason, others are starting to realize the Penguins have a player here. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"