Toronto Maple Leafs Draft: The Case For Daniel Sprong


In my last Toronto Maple Leafs draft player preview, we looked at Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Ryan Pilon, and today we will view Charlottetown Islanders sniping forward Daniel Sprong, a Dutch-born hockey player.

The QMJHL continues to produce forwards who possess elite offensive talent – those like Flyers captain Claude Giroux, Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin, Avalanche forward Nathan Mackinnon and Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau to name a few. The Toronto Maple Leafs could have the chance to grab some Q talent.

Those players listed above were all top three draft prospects, which is tough to compare Sprong to, but the QMJHL is known as an offensive players dream and goaltenders nightmare. Sprong is ranked to go anywhere from 15th overall to 28th overall – right in the middle of where the Maple Leafs will pick with their second first round draft pick obtained from the Nashville Predators (for details on that trade, click here).

Sprong was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands to father Hannie Sprong who played in a hockey league over in the Netherlands. Daniel is also a Canadian citizen, giving him the ability to represent Canada at the international level. His family moved to Île-Bizard, Quebec in 2005 so Daniel could pursue his hockey dream since the Netherlands only had one hockey rink in all of Amsterdam.

Sprong played minor hockey for numerous teams, and 2011-2012 was one of the biggest years they put  but the team he decided to stick to in his Bantam years was the Deux-Rives Dauphins Bantam AA team where he displayed his scoring ability by depositing 30 goals and adding eight assists for 38 points in 19 games.

After the year was finished, Sprong decided to take his talents to Wilkes-Barre, PA to play for their  Jr. Knights Bantam team. Sprong played in 11 games and showed he has playmaking ability while adding 23 assists to nine goals for a total of 32 points. During the playoffs with the Jr. Knights, Sprong shined yet again – recording 11 points (7 goals and four assists) in four games en route to a championship.

The next year, he played in the elite prospect league known as the Quebec Major Elite Athletics Association (QMEAA) and shattered records while playing for the Lac St-Louis Tigres Espoir, and totalled 104 points in 30 games, good enough for over three points a game.

Sprong’s final regular season tallies were 48 goals and 56 assists. During the Tigers Espoir playoff run he appeared in three games and scored five goals while adding three assists for seven points.

Not long after, Sprong was selected 13th overall by the Charlottetown Islanders in the 2013 QMJHL Draft, and has been they cornerstone ever since.

In his rookie season with the Islanders, Sprong excelled – scoring 30 goals and assisting on 38 for 68 points in 67 games, helping him earn a spot on the QMJHL’s All-Rookie team. His performance was just what the Islanders needed, as the team clinched a payoff berth and were looking to make a run with Sprong catching fire late in the year.

Sprong and his teammates ended up being swept in the first round, leading to an early off-season for the rookie. He recorded four goals and one assist in the series.

This past season was the biggest of Sprong’s young career, as this is the year he is eligible for the NHL Entry Draft. He entered the year ranked No. 36 on Central Scouting boards, a few spots shy of a first round draft pick. Given some motivation, Sprong elevated his game and blasted the score-sheet each night, where the 18 year-old 6’0″ 182 lbs sniper recorded season highs in each statistical category with 68 games played, 39 goals and 49 assists for 88 points in total – good enough to lead his team in points, goals and assists while carrying them to the second round of the playoffs.

During the first round, the Islanders went to seven games against Sherbrooke, with Charlottetown getting the final say and game seven victory. Next round, Sprong and company were knocked out in four games by the Memorial Cup host Quebec Remparts. During the playoff run, Sprong appeared in all 10 games and recorded 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists).

After his year, he has now been ranked the 20th best prospect in the Central Scouting Standings, which is no news after the year and development Sprong has shown since being drafted by Charlottetown.’s scouting report on Sprong is he entails prolific scoring with an elite-level skill set – has dynamic skating ability with the ability to make creative passes to go along with incredible puck handling ability. While he is offensively dominant, he is also defensively responsible. A very hard working player who strives to improve all aspects of his game. “He is an absolutely electric player,” Charlottetown Islanders GM Grant Sonier said.

Sprong shows off his elite skill level in this highlight pack below.

How Sprong would fit into the Maple Leafs system would be perfect – because one of Erie Otters play-maker Dylan Strome or two-way American defenceman Noah Hanifin (a top three prospect) will be available.

If Sprong is there when the Maple Leafs pick 24th overall, he is definitely worth a first round draft pick as he could easily produce 30+ goal seasons with a good play-making center.

Next: Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumours: Burmistrov A Target?

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