The 2015 NHL Entry Draft is 11 days away and the Buffalo Sabres are taking advantage of several picks in the opening rounds to build a franchise with a bright future. Hockey Wilderness is counting down the days with a daily mock draft. We are at pick number 21 today.
Swimming in the Sabres Prospect Pool
Well, not much has changed here since the Buffalo Sabres selected Jack Eichel with the 2nd overall selection in our Mock Draft. The Sabres are a team that have been stuck in the bottom half of the league for enough years now that these higher end draft prospects need to start paying off soon, lest the Sabres of Buffalo want to be branded as Edmonton East. With Eichel now in the fold, the Sabres will be looking to add depth at any position with their 2nd selection in the first round, and continue stocking the cupboards with their 31st overall and 51st overall selections in the 2nd round. This pick could likely come down to being a "best player available" pick for the Sabres.
Enter Daniel Sprong
Daniel Sprong feels like a perfect fit to Jack Eichel. These two could potentially grow together with the franchise and bring the Sabres to great heights. Both players show a creative knack for the game and are threats whenever the puck is on their sticks. Sprong has shown elite skill in the Q, and the nickname The Flying Dutchman was earned, and is not just a product of his birthplace in the Netherlands. His speed jumps out at you right away when you watch this kid take to the ice. He's wrist shot flies off his stick and he can put that puck on a rope to the corners at will.
Sprong was easily the best player for Charlottetown last season. He finished 14th in the Q in scoring, batting better than 1.29 points per game. He's got the moves to beat a defender one-on-one and the finishing ability to make teams pay for any lapse in coverage. This is far from a promise that he'll develop into to next Patrick Kane, yet if his developmental arc continues to rise he could find himself as one of the more coveted wingers on the 2015 draft class.
The right-shot winger stands at 6'0" tall and tips the scales at 190 lbs. One of the few knocks against Sprong is his tendency to float around his defensive zone and he's not overly intimidating on the back check. While floating may not always be a terrible trait, especially when you're trying to utilize his speed on a defensive zone breakout, it is something that will be exposed at the NHL level. While Sprong has shown he is probably one of the biggest offensive threats in this years draft, arrogance and self-importance have brought up as some questionable personality traits for this youngster, which is why his stock has dropped as far down the draft board as it has. Future Considerations has him ranked as high as 18 and Central Scouting places him 20th among North American skaters. On the low end McKeen's ranks Sprong at 44 while Craig Button and Bob McKenzie have him ranked 38th and 33rd respectively.
Wild About Daniel Sprong?
A lot of you were pretty downtrodden when the Minnesota Wild selected power forward Alex Tuch over the potentially explosive (in more ways than one) Joshua Ho-Sang in last summers NHL Entry Draft. Well, if Daniel Sprong happens to be around at the 20th pick, your shot at redemption is here. Sprong shares a lot of the same character traits as Ho-Sang, and it seems to me from my chair Sprong may have a higher ceiling. The Wild need more depth on the wing, and although I wasn't as high on Ho-Sang last year as a lot of you were, (Team Alex Tuch) there is not a chance if I was sitting in Chuck Fletcher's shoes and this gift dropped into my lap I wouldn't lovingly accept it with open arms. The reward with Sprong is simply too high to get hung up on any attitude issues, from a teenager nonetheless. Sprong needs a little time to grow both physically and mentally, and perhaps some of the attitude overflows into adulthood, but you gotta jump on this one.
It's too bad though Wilderness, Tony already jinxed this one.
I just remembered that @The_Noogie has selected Gustav Olofsson and Alex Tuch in mock drafts back to back years. Man is a Wild draft oracle.— The Narrative Slayer (@TonyWiseau) June 15, 2015